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Title: The History of Don Quixote, Vol. I., Part 14.

Author: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Release Date: July 19, 2004 [EBook #5916]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by David Widger

                            DON QUIXOTE

                     by Miguel de Cervantes

                    Translated by John Ormsby

                            Volume I.

                             Part 14.


Before fifteen days were over our renegade had already purchased an
excellent vessel with room for more than thirty persons; and to make the
transaction safe and lend a colour to it, he thought it well to make, as
he did, a voyage to a place called Shershel, twenty leagues from Algiers
on the Oran side, where there is an extensive trade in dried figs. Two or
three times he made this voyage in company with the Tagarin already
mentioned. The Moors of Aragon are called Tagarins in Barbary, and those
of Granada Mudejars; but in the Kingdom of Fez they call the Mudejars
Elches, and they are the people the king chiefly employs in war. To
proceed: every time he passed with his vessel he anchored in a cove that
was not two crossbow shots from the garden where Zoraida was waiting; and
there the renegade, together with the two Moorish lads that rowed, used
purposely to station himself, either going through his prayers, or else
practising as a part what he meant to perform in earnest. And thus he
would go to Zoraida's garden and ask for fruit, which her father gave
him, not knowing him; but though, as he afterwards told me, he sought to
speak to Zoraida, and tell her who he was, and that by my orders he was
to take her to the land of the Christians, so that she might feel
satisfied and easy, he had never been able to do so; for the Moorish
women do not allow themselves to be seen by any Moor or Turk, unless
their husband or father bid them: with Christian captives they permit
freedom of intercourse and communication, even more than might be
considered proper. But for my part I should have been sorry if he had
spoken to her, for perhaps it might have alarmed her to find her affairs
talked of by renegades. But God, who ordered it otherwise, afforded no
opportunity for our renegade's well-meant purpose; and he, seeing how
safely he could go to Shershel and return, and anchor when and how and
where he liked, and that the Tagarin his partner had no will but his, and
that, now I was ransomed, all we wanted was to find some Christians to
row, told me to look out for any I should be willing to take with me,
over and above those who had been ransomed, and to engage them for the
next Friday, which he fixed upon for our departure. On this I spoke to
twelve Spaniards, all stout rowers, and such as could most easily leave
the city; but it was no easy matter to find so many just then, because
there were twenty ships out on a cruise and they had taken all the rowers
with them; and these would not have been found were it not that their
master remained at home that summer without going to sea in order to
finish a galliot that he had upon the stocks. To these men I said nothing
more than that the next Friday in the evening they were to come out
stealthily one by one and hang about Hadji Morato's garden, waiting for
me there until I came. These directions I gave each one separately, with
orders that if they saw any other Christians there they were not to say
anything to them except that I had directed them to wait at that spot.

This preliminary having been settled, another still more necessary step
had to be taken, which was to let Zoraida know how matters stood that she
might be prepared and forewarned, so as not to be taken by surprise if we
were suddenly to seize upon her before she thought the Christians' vessel
could have returned. I determined, therefore, to go to the garden and try
if I could speak to her; and the day before my departure I went there
under the pretence of gathering herbs. The first person I met was her
father, who addressed me in the language that all over Barbary and even
in Constantinople is the medium between captives and Moors, and is
neither Morisco nor Castilian, nor of any other nation, but a mixture of
all languages, by means of which we can all understand one another. In
this sort of language, I say, he asked me what I wanted in his garden,
and to whom I belonged. I replied that I was a slave of the Arnaut Mami
(for I knew as a certainty that he was a very great friend of his), and
that I wanted some herbs to make a salad. He asked me then whether I were
on ransom or not, and what my master demanded for me. While these
questions and answers were proceeding, the fair Zoraida, who had already
perceived me some time before, came out of the house in the garden, and
as Moorish women are by no means particular about letting themselves be
seen by Christians, or, as I have said before, at all coy, she had no
hesitation in coming to where her father stood with me; moreover her
father, seeing her approaching slowly, called to her to come. It would be
beyond my power now to describe to you the great beauty, the high-bred
air, the brilliant attire of my beloved Zoraida as she presented herself
before my eyes. I will content myself with saying that more pearls hung
from her fair neck, her ears, and her hair than she had hairs on her
head. On her ankles, which as is customary were bare, she had carcajes
(for so bracelets or anklets are called in Morisco) of the purest gold,
set with so many diamonds that she told me afterwards her father valued
them at ten thousand doubloons, and those she had on her wrists were
worth as much more. The pearls were in profusion and very fine, for the
highest display and adornment of the Moorish women is decking themselves
with rich pearls and seed-pearls; and of these there are therefore more
among the Moors than among any other people. Zoraida's father had to the
reputation of possessing a great number, and the purest in all Algiers,
and of possessing also more than two hundred thousand Spanish crowns; and
she, who is now mistress of me only, was mistress of all this. Whether
thus adorned she would have been beautiful or not, and what she must have
been in her prosperity, may be imagined from the beauty remaining to her
after so many hardships; for, as everyone knows, the beauty of some women
has its times and its seasons, and is increased or diminished by chance
causes; and naturally the emotions of the mind will heighten or impair
it, though indeed more frequently they totally destroy it. In a word she
presented herself before me that day attired with the utmost splendour,
and supremely beautiful; at any rate, she seemed to me the most beautiful
object I had ever seen; and when, besides, I thought of all I owed to her
I felt as though I had before me some heavenly being come to earth to
bring me relief and happiness.

As she approached her father told her in his own language that I was a
captive belonging to his friend the Arnaut Mami, and that I had come for

She took up the conversation, and in that mixture of tongues I have
spoken of she asked me if I was a gentleman, and why I was not ransomed.

I answered that I was already ransomed, and that by the price it might be
seen what value my master set on me, as I had given one thousand five
hundred zoltanis for me; to which she replied, "Hadst thou been my
father's, I can tell thee, I would not have let him part with thee for
twice as much, for you Christians always tell lies about yourselves and
make yourselves out poor to cheat the Moors."

"That may be, lady," said I; "but indeed I dealt truthfully with my
master, as I do and mean to do with everybody in the world."

"And when dost thou go?" said Zoraida.

"To-morrow, I think," said I, "for there is a vessel here from France
which sails to-morrow, and I think I shall go in her."

"Would it not be better," said Zoraida, "to wait for the arrival of ships
from Spain and go with them and not with the French who are not your

"No," said I; "though if there were intelligence that a vessel were now
coming from Spain it is true I might, perhaps, wait for it; however, it
is more likely I shall depart to-morrow, for the longing I feel to return
to my country and to those I love is so great that it will not allow me
to wait for another opportunity, however more convenient, if it be

"No doubt thou art married in thine own country," said Zoraida, "and for
that reason thou art anxious to go and see thy wife."

"I am not married," I replied, "but I have given my promise to marry on
my arrival there."

"And is the lady beautiful to whom thou hast given it?" said Zoraida.

"So beautiful," said I, "that, to describe her worthily and tell thee the
truth, she is very like thee."

At this her father laughed very heartily and said, "By Allah, Christian,
she must be very beautiful if she is like my daughter, who is the most
beautiful woman in all this kingdom: only look at her well and thou wilt
see I am telling the truth."

Zoraida's father as the better linguist helped to interpret most of these
words and phrases, for though she spoke the bastard language, that, as I
have said, is employed there, she expressed her meaning more by signs
than by words.

While we were still engaged in this conversation, a Moor came running up,
exclaiming that four Turks had leaped over the fence or wall of the
garden, and were gathering the fruit though it was not yet ripe. The old
man was alarmed and Zoraida too, for the Moors commonly, and, so to
speak, instinctively have a dread of the Turks, but particularly of the
soldiers, who are so insolent and domineering to the Moors who are under
their power that they treat them worse than if they were their slaves.
Her father said to Zoraida, "Daughter, retire into the house and shut
thyself in while I go and speak to these dogs; and thou, Christian, pick
thy herbs, and go in peace, and Allah bring thee safe to thy own

I bowed, and he went away to look for the Turks, leaving me alone with
Zoraida, who made as if she were about to retire as her father bade her;
but the moment he was concealed by the trees of the garden, turning to me
with her eyes full of tears she said, "Tameji, cristiano, tameji?" that is
to say, "Art thou going, Christian, art thou going?"

I made answer, "Yes, lady, but not without thee, come what may: be on the
watch for me on the next Juma, and be not alarmed when thou seest us; for
most surely we shall go to the land of the Christians."

This I said in such a way that she understood perfectly all that passed
between us, and throwing her arm round my neck she began with feeble
steps to move towards the house; but as fate would have it (and it might
have been very unfortunate if Heaven had not otherwise ordered it), just
as we were moving on in the manner and position I have described, with
her arm round my neck, her father, as he returned after having sent away
the Turks, saw how we were walking and we perceived that he saw us; but
Zoraida, ready and quickwitted, took care not to remove her arm from my
neck, but on the contrary drew closer to me and laid her head on my
breast, bending her knees a little and showing all the signs and tokens
of fainting, while I at the same time made it seem as though I were
supporting her against my will. Her father came running up to where we
were, and seeing his daughter in this state asked what was the matter
with her; she, however, giving no answer, he said, "No doubt she has
fainted in alarm at the entrance of those dogs," and taking her from mine
he drew her to his own breast, while she sighing, her eyes still wet with
tears, said again, "Ameji, cristiano, ameji"--"Go, Christian, go." To
this her father replied, "There is no need, daughter, for the Christian
to go, for he has done thee no harm, and the Turks have now gone; feel no
alarm, there is nothing to hurt thee, for as I say, the Turks at my
request have gone back the way they came."

"It was they who terrified her, as thou hast said, senor," said I to her
father; "but since she tells me to go, I have no wish to displease her:
peace be with thee, and with thy leave I will come back to this garden
for herbs if need be, for my master says there are nowhere better herbs
for salad then here."

"Come back for any thou hast need of," replied Hadji Morato; "for my
daughter does not speak thus because she is displeased with thee or any
Christian: she only meant that the Turks should go, not thou; or that it
was time for thee to look for thy herbs."

With this I at once took my leave of both; and she, looking as though her
heart were breaking, retired with her father. While pretending to look
for herbs I made the round of the garden at my ease, and studied
carefully all the approaches and outlets, and the fastenings of the house
and everything that could be taken advantage of to make our task easy.

Having done so I went and gave an account of all that had taken place to
the renegade and my comrades, and looked forward with impatience to the
hour when, all fear at an end, I should find myself in possession of the
prize which fortune held out to me in the fair and lovely Zoraida. The
time passed at length, and the appointed day we so longed for arrived;
and, all following out the arrangement and plan which, after careful
consideration and many a long discussion, we had decided upon, we
succeeded as fully as we could have wished; for on the Friday following
the day upon which I spoke to Zoraida in the garden, the renegade
anchored his vessel at nightfall almost opposite the spot where she was.
The Christians who were to row were ready and in hiding in different
places round about, all waiting for me, anxious and elated, and eager to
attack the vessel they had before their eyes; for they did not know the
renegade's plan, but expected that they were to gain their liberty by
force of arms and by killing the Moors who were on board the vessel. As
soon, then, as I and my comrades made our appearance, all those that were
in hiding seeing us came and joined us. It was now the time when the city
gates are shut, and there was no one to be seen in all the space outside.
When we were collected together we debated whether it would be better
first to go for Zoraida, or to make prisoners of the Moorish rowers who
rowed in the vessel; but while we were still uncertain our renegade came
up asking us what kept us, as it was now the time, and all the Moors were
off their guard and most of them asleep. We told him why we hesitated,
but he said it was of more importance first to secure the vessel, which
could be done with the greatest ease and without any danger, and then we
could go for Zoraida. We all approved of what he said, and so without
further delay, guided by him we made for the vessel, and he leaping on
board first, drew his cutlass and said in Morisco, "Let no one stir from
this if he does not want it to cost him his life." By this almost all the
Christians were on board, and the Moors, who were fainthearted, hearing
their captain speak in this way, were cowed, and without any one of them
taking to his arms (and indeed they had few or hardly any) they submitted
without saying a word to be bound by the Christians, who quickly secured
them, threatening them that if they raised any kind of outcry they would
be all put to the sword. This having been accomplished, and half of our
party being left to keep guard over them, the rest of us, again taking
the renegade as our guide, hastened towards Hadji Morato's garden, and as
good luck would have it, on trying the gate it opened as easily as if it
had not been locked; and so, quite quietly and in silence, we reached the
house without being perceived by anybody. The lovely Zoraida was watching
for us at a window, and as soon as she perceived that there were people
there, she asked in a low voice if we were "Nizarani," as much as to say
or ask if we were Christians. I answered that we were, and begged her to
come down. As soon as she recognised me she did not delay an instant, but
without answering a word came down immediately, opened the door and
presented herself before us all, so beautiful and so richly attired that
I cannot attempt to describe her. The moment I saw her I took her hand
and kissed it, and the renegade and my two comrades did the same; and the
rest, who knew nothing of the circumstances, did as they saw us do, for
it only seemed as if we were returning thanks to her, and recognising her
as the giver of our liberty. The renegade asked her in the Morisco
language if her father was in the house. She replied that he was and that
he was asleep.

"Then it will be necessary to waken him and take him with us," said the
renegade, "and everything of value in this fair mansion."

"Nay," said she, "my father must not on any account be touched, and there
is nothing in the house except what I shall take, and that will be quite
enough to enrich and satisfy all of you; wait a little and you shall
see," and so saying she went in, telling us she would return immediately
and bidding us keep quiet making any noise.

I asked the renegade what had passed between them, and when he told me, I
declared that nothing should be done except in accordance with the wishes
of Zoraida, who now came back with a little trunk so full of gold crowns
that she could scarcely carry it. Unfortunately her father awoke while
this was going on, and hearing a noise in the garden, came to the window,
and at once perceiving that all those who were there were Christians,
raising a prodigiously loud outcry, he began to call out in Arabic,
"Christians, Christians! thieves, thieves!" by which cries we were all
thrown into the greatest fear and embarrassment; but the renegade seeing
the danger we were in and how important it was for him to effect his
purpose before we were heard, mounted with the utmost quickness to where
Hadji Morato was, and with him went some of our party; I, however, did
not dare to leave Zoraida, who had fallen almost fainting in my arms. To
be brief, those who had gone upstairs acted so promptly that in an
instant they came down, carrying Hadji Morato with his hands bound and a
napkin tied over his mouth, which prevented him from uttering a word,
warning him at the same time that to attempt to speak would cost him his
life. When his daughter caught sight of him she covered her eyes so as
not to see him, and her father was horror-stricken, not knowing how
willingly she had placed herself in our hands. But it was now most
essential for us to be on the move, and carefully and quickly we regained
the vessel, where those who had remained on board were waiting for us in
apprehension of some mishap having befallen us. It was barely two hours
after night set in when we were all on board the vessel, where the cords
were removed from the hands of Zoraida's father, and the napkin from his
mouth; but the renegade once more told him not to utter a word, or they
would take his life. He, when he saw his daughter there, began to sigh
piteously, and still more when he perceived that I held her closely
embraced and that she lay quiet without resisting or complaining, or
showing any reluctance; nevertheless he remained silent lest they should
carry into effect the repeated threats the renegade had addressed to him.

Finding herself now on board, and that we were about to give way with the
oars, Zoraida, seeing her father there, and the other Moors bound, bade
the renegade ask me to do her the favour of releasing the Moors and
setting her father at liberty, for she would rather drown herself in the
sea than suffer a father that had loved her so dearly to be carried away
captive before her eyes and on her account. The renegade repeated this to
me, and I replied that I was very willing to do so; but he replied that
it was not advisable, because if they were left there they would at once
raise the country and stir up the city, and lead to the despatch of swift
cruisers in pursuit, and our being taken, by sea or land, without any
possibility of escape; and that all that could be done was to set them
free on the first Christian ground we reached. On this point we all
agreed; and Zoraida, to whom it was explained, together with the reasons
that prevented us from doing at once what she desired, was satisfied
likewise; and then in glad silence and with cheerful alacrity each of our
stout rowers took his oar, and commending ourselves to God with all our
hearts, we began to shape our course for the island of Majorca, the
nearest Christian land. Owing, however, to the Tramontana rising a
little, and the sea growing somewhat rough, it was impossible for us to
keep a straight course for Majorca, and we were compelled to coast in the
direction of Oran, not without great uneasiness on our part lest we
should be observed from the town of Shershel, which lies on that coast,
not more than sixty miles from Algiers. Moreover we were afraid of
meeting on that course one of the galliots that usually come with goods
from Tetuan; although each of us for himself and all of us together felt
confident that, if we were to meet a merchant galliot, so that it were
not a cruiser, not only should we not be lost, but that we should take a
vessel in which we could more safely accomplish our voyage. As we pursued
our course Zoraida kept her head between my hands so as not to see her
father, and I felt that she was praying to Lela Marien to help us.

We might have made about thirty miles when daybreak found us some three
musket-shots off the land, which seemed to us deserted, and without
anyone to see us. For all that, however, by hard rowing we put out a
little to sea, for it was now somewhat calmer, and having gained about
two leagues the word was given to row by batches, while we ate something,
for the vessel was well provided; but the rowers said it was not a time
to take any rest; let food be served out to those who were not rowing,
but they would not leave their oars on any account. This was done, but
now a stiff breeze began to blow, which obliged us to leave off rowing
and make sail at once and steer for Oran, as it was impossible to make
any other course. All this was done very promptly, and under sail we ran
more than eight miles an hour without any fear, except that of coming
across some vessel out on a roving expedition. We gave the Moorish rowers
some food, and the renegade comforted them by telling them that they were
not held as captives, as we should set them free on the first

The same was said to Zoraida's father, who replied, "Anything else,
Christian, I might hope for or think likely from your generosity and good
behaviour, but do not think me so simple as to imagine you will give me
my liberty; for you would have never exposed yourselves to the danger of
depriving me of it only to restore it to me so generously, especially as
you know who I am and the sum you may expect to receive on restoring it;
and if you will only name that, I here offer you all you require for
myself and for my unhappy daughter there; or else for her alone, for she
is the greatest and most precious part of my soul."

As he said this he began to weep so bitterly that he filled us all with
compassion and forced Zoraida to look at him, and when she saw him
weeping she was so moved that she rose from my feet and ran to throw her
arms round him, and pressing her face to his, they both gave way to such
an outburst of tears that several of us were constrained to keep them

But when her father saw her in full dress and with all her jewels about
her, he said to her in his own language, "What means this, my daughter?
Last night, before this terrible misfortune in which we are plunged
befell us, I saw thee in thy everyday and indoor garments; and now,
without having had time to attire thyself, and without my bringing thee
any joyful tidings to furnish an occasion for adorning and bedecking
thyself, I see thee arrayed in the finest attire it would be in my power
to give thee when fortune was most kind to us. Answer me this; for it
causes me greater anxiety and surprise than even this misfortune itself."

The renegade interpreted to us what the Moor said to his daughter; she,
however, returned him no answer. But when he observed in one corner of
the vessel the little trunk in which she used to keep her jewels, which
he well knew he had left in Algiers and had not brought to the garden, he
was still more amazed, and asked her how that trunk had come into our
hands, and what there was in it. To which the renegade, without waiting
for Zoraida to reply, made answer, "Do not trouble thyself by asking thy
daughter Zoraida so many questions, senor, for the one answer I will give
thee will serve for all; I would have thee know that she is a Christian,
and that it is she who has been the file for our chains and our deliverer
from captivity. She is here of her own free will, as glad, I imagine, to
find herself in this position as he who escapes from darkness into the
light, from death to life, and from suffering to glory."

"Daughter, is this true, what he says?" cried the Moor.

"It is," replied Zoraida.

"That thou art in truth a Christian," said the old man, "and that thou
hast given thy father into the power of his enemies?"

To which Zoraida made answer, "A Christian I am, but it is not I who have
placed thee in this position, for it never was my wish to leave thee or
do thee harm, but only to do good to myself."

"And what good hast thou done thyself, daughter?" said he.

"Ask thou that," said she, "of Lela Marien, for she can tell thee better
than I."

The Moor had hardly heard these words when with marvellous quickness he
flung himself headforemost into the sea, where no doubt he would have
been drowned had not the long and full dress he wore held him up for a
little on the surface of the water. Zoraida cried aloud to us to save
him, and we all hastened to help, and seizing him by his robe we drew him
in half drowned and insensible, at which Zoraida was in such distress
that she wept over him as piteously and bitterly as though he were
already dead. We turned him upon his face and he voided a great quantity
of water, and at the end of two hours came to himself. Meanwhile, the
wind having changed we were compelled to head for the land, and ply our
oars to avoid being driven on shore; but it was our good fortune to reach
a creek that lies on one side of a small promontory or cape, called by
the Moors that of the "Cava rumia," which in our language means "the
wicked Christian woman;" for it is a tradition among them that La Cava,
through whom Spain was lost, lies buried at that spot; "cava" in their
language meaning "wicked woman," and "rumia" "Christian;" moreover, they
count it unlucky to anchor there when necessity compels them, and they
never do so otherwise. For us, however, it was not the resting-place of
the wicked woman but a haven of safety for our relief, so much had the
sea now got up. We posted a look-out on shore, and never let the oars out
of our hands, and ate of the stores the renegade had laid in, imploring
God and Our Lady with all our hearts to help and protect us, that we
might give a happy ending to a beginning so prosperous. At the entreaty
of Zoraida orders were given to set on shore her father and the other
Moors who were still bound, for she could not endure, nor could her
tender heart bear to see her father in bonds and her fellow-countrymen
prisoners before her eyes. We promised her to do this at the moment of
departure, for as it was uninhabited we ran no risk in releasing them at
that place.

Our prayers were not so far in vain as to be unheard by Heaven, for after
a while the wind changed in our favour, and made the sea calm, inviting
us once more to resume our voyage with a good heart. Seeing this we
unbound the Moors, and one by one put them on shore, at which they were
filled with amazement; but when we came to land Zoraida's father, who had
now completely recovered his senses, he said:

"Why is it, think ye, Christians, that this wicked woman is rejoiced at
your giving me my liberty? Think ye it is because of the affection she
bears me? Nay verily, it is only because of the hindrance my presence
offers to the execution of her base designs. And think not that it is her
belief that yours is better than ours that has led her to change her
religion; it is only because she knows that immodesty is more freely
practised in your country than in ours." Then turning to Zoraida, while I
and another of the Christians held him fast by both arms, lest he should
do some mad act, he said to her, "Infamous girl, misguided maiden,
whither in thy blindness and madness art thou going in the hands of these
dogs, our natural enemies? Cursed be the hour when I begot thee! Cursed
the luxury and indulgence in which I reared thee!"

But seeing that he was not likely soon to cease I made haste to put him
on shore, and thence he continued his maledictions and lamentations
aloud; calling on Mohammed to pray to Allah to destroy us, to confound
us, to make an end of us; and when, in consequence of having made sail,
we could no longer hear what he said we could see what he did; how he
plucked out his beard and tore his hair and lay writhing on the ground.
But once he raised his voice to such a pitch that we were able to hear
what he said. "Come back, dear daughter, come back to shore; I forgive
thee all; let those men have the money, for it is theirs now, and come
back to comfort thy sorrowing father, who will yield up his life on this
barren strand if thou dost leave him."

All this Zoraida heard, and heard with sorrow and tears, and all she
could say in answer was, "Allah grant that Lela Marien, who has made me
become a Christian, give thee comfort in thy sorrow, my father. Allah
knows that I could not do otherwise than I have done, and that these
Christians owe nothing to my will; for even had I wished not to accompany
them, but remain at home, it would have been impossible for me, so
eagerly did my soul urge me on to the accomplishment of this purpose,
which I feel to be as righteous as to thee, dear father, it seems

But neither could her father hear her nor we see him when she said this;
and so, while I consoled Zoraida, we turned our attention to our voyage,
in which a breeze from the right point so favoured us that we made sure
of finding ourselves off the coast of Spain on the morrow by daybreak.
But, as good seldom or never comes pure and unmixed, without being
attended or followed by some disturbing evil that gives a shock to it,
our fortune, or perhaps the curses which the Moor had hurled at his
daughter (for whatever kind of father they may come from these are always
to be dreaded), brought it about that when we were now in mid-sea, and
the night about three hours spent, as we were running with all sail set
and oars lashed, for the favouring breeze saved us the trouble of using
them, we saw by the light of the moon, which shone brilliantly, a
square-rigged vessel in full sail close to us, luffing up and standing
across our course, and so close that we had to strike sail to avoid
running foul of her, while they too put the helm hard up to let us pass.
They came to the side of the ship to ask who we were, whither we were
bound, and whence we came, but as they asked this in French our renegade
said, "Let no one answer, for no doubt these are French corsairs who
plunder all comers."

Acting on this warning no one answered a word, but after we had gone a
little ahead, and the vessel was now lying to leeward, suddenly they
fired two guns, and apparently both loaded with chain-shot, for with one
they cut our mast in half and brought down both it and the sail into the
sea, and the other, discharged at the same moment, sent a ball into our
vessel amidships, staving her in completely, but without doing any
further damage. We, however, finding ourselves sinking began to shout for
help and call upon those in the ship to pick us up as we were beginning
to fill. They then lay to, and lowering a skiff or boat, as many as a
dozen Frenchmen, well armed with match-locks, and their matches burning,
got into it and came alongside; and seeing how few we were, and that our
vessel was going down, they took us in, telling us that this had come to
us through our incivility in not giving them an answer. Our renegade took
the trunk containing Zoraida's wealth and dropped it into the sea without
anyone perceiving what he did. In short we went on board with the
Frenchmen, who, after having ascertained all they wanted to know about
us, rifled us of everything we had, as if they had been our bitterest
enemies, and from Zoraida they took even the anklets she wore on her
feet; but the distress they caused her did not distress me so much as the
fear I was in that from robbing her of her rich and precious jewels they
would proceed to rob her of the most precious jewel that she valued more
than all. The desires, however, of those people do not go beyond money,
but of that their covetousness is insatiable, and on this occasion it was
carried to such a pitch that they would have taken even the clothes we
wore as captives if they had been worth anything to them. It was the
advice of some of them to throw us all into the sea wrapped up in a sail;
for their purpose was to trade at some of the ports of Spain, giving
themselves out as Bretons, and if they brought us alive they would be
punished as soon as the robbery was discovered; but the captain (who was
the one who had plundered my beloved Zoraida) said he was satisfied with
the prize he had got, and that he would not touch at any Spanish port,
but pass the Straits of Gibraltar by night, or as best he could, and make
for La Rochelle, from which he had sailed. So they agreed by common
consent to give us the skiff belonging to their ship and all we required
for the short voyage that remained to us, and this they did the next day
on coming in sight of the Spanish coast, with which, and the joy we felt,
all our sufferings and miseries were as completely forgotten as if they
had never been endured by us, such is the delight of recovering lost

It may have been about mid-day when they placed us in the boat, giving us
two kegs of water and some biscuit; and the captain, moved by I know not
what compassion, as the lovely Zoraida was about to embark, gave her some
forty gold crowns, and would not permit his men to take from her those
same garments which she has on now. We got into the boat, returning them
thanks for their kindness to us, and showing ourselves grateful rather
than indignant. They stood out to sea, steering for the straits; we,
without looking to any compass save the land we had before us, set
ourselves to row with such energy that by sunset we were so near that we
might easily, we thought, land before the night was far advanced. But as
the moon did not show that night, and the sky was clouded, and as we knew
not whereabouts we were, it did not seem to us a prudent thing to make
for the shore, as several of us advised, saying we ought to run ourselves
ashore even if it were on rocks and far from any habitation, for in this
way we should be relieved from the apprehensions we naturally felt of the
prowling vessels of the Tetuan corsairs, who leave Barbary at nightfall
and are on the Spanish coast by daybreak, where they commonly take some
prize, and then go home to sleep in their own houses. But of the
conflicting counsels the one which was adopted was that we should
approach gradually, and land where we could if the sea were calm enough
to permit us. This was done, and a little before midnight we drew near to
the foot of a huge and lofty mountain, not so close to the sea but that
it left a narrow space on which to land conveniently. We ran our boat up
on the sand, and all sprang out and kissed the ground, and with tears of
joyful satisfaction returned thanks to God our Lord for all his
incomparable goodness to us on our voyage. We took out of the boat the
provisions it contained, and drew it up on the shore, and then climbed a
long way up the mountain, for even there we could not feel easy in our
hearts, or persuade ourselves that it was Christian soil that was now
under our feet.

The dawn came, more slowly, I think, than we could have wished; we
completed the ascent in order to see if from the summit any habitation or
any shepherds' huts could be discovered, but strain our eyes as we might,
neither dwelling, nor human being, nor path nor road could we perceive.
However, we determined to push on farther, as it could not but be that
ere long we must see some one who could tell us where we were. But what
distressed me most was to see Zoraida going on foot over that rough
ground; for though I once carried her on my shoulders, she was more
wearied by my weariness than rested by the rest; and so she would never
again allow me to undergo the exertion, and went on very patiently and
cheerfully, while I led her by the hand. We had gone rather less than a
quarter of a league when the sound of a little bell fell on our ears, a
clear proof that there were flocks hard by, and looking about carefully
to see if any were within view, we observed a young shepherd tranquilly
and unsuspiciously trimming a stick with his knife at the foot of a cork
tree. We called to him, and he, raising his head, sprang nimbly to his
feet, for, as we afterwards learned, the first who presented themselves
to his sight were the renegade and Zoraida, and seeing them in Moorish
dress he imagined that all the Moors of Barbary were upon him; and
plunging with marvellous swiftness into the thicket in front of him, he
began to raise a prodigious outcry, exclaiming, "The Moors--the Moors
have landed! To arms, to arms!" We were all thrown into perplexity by
these cries, not knowing what to do; but reflecting that the shouts of
the shepherd would raise the country and that the mounted coast-guard
would come at once to see what was the matter, we agreed that the
renegade must strip off his Turkish garments and put on a captive's
jacket or coat which one of our party gave him at once, though he himself
was reduced to his shirt; and so commending ourselves to God, we followed
the same road which we saw the shepherd take, expecting every moment that
the coast-guard would be down upon us. Nor did our expectation deceive
us, for two hours had not passed when, coming out of the brushwood into
the open ground, we perceived some fifty mounted men swiftly approaching
us at a hand-gallop. As soon as we saw them we stood still, waiting for
them; but as they came close and, instead of the Moors they were in quest
of, saw a set of poor Christians, they were taken aback, and one of them
asked if it could be we who were the cause of the shepherd having raised
the call to arms. I said "Yes," and as I was about to explain to him what
had occurred, and whence we came and who we were, one of the Christians
of our party recognised the horseman who had put the question to us, and
before I could say anything more he exclaimed:

"Thanks be to God, sirs, for bringing us to such good quarters; for, if I
do not deceive myself, the ground we stand on is that of Velez Malaga
unless, indeed, all my years of captivity have made me unable to
recollect that you, senor, who ask who we are, are Pedro de Bustamante,
my uncle."

The Christian captive had hardly uttered these words, when the horseman
threw himself off his horse, and ran to embrace the young man, crying:

"Nephew of my soul and life! I recognise thee now; and long have I
mourned thee as dead, I, and my sister, thy mother, and all thy kin that
are still alive, and whom God has been pleased to preserve that they may
enjoy the happiness of seeing thee. We knew long since that thou wert in
Algiers, and from the appearance of thy garments and those of all this
company, I conclude that ye have had a miraculous restoration to

"It is true," replied the young man, "and by-and-by we will tell you

As soon as the horsemen understood that we were Christian captives, they
dismounted from their horses, and each offered his to carry us to the
city of Velez Malaga, which was a league and a half distant. Some of them
went to bring the boat to the city, we having told them where we had left
it; others took us up behind them, and Zoraida was placed on the horse of
the young man's uncle. The whole town came out to meet us, for they had
by this time heard of our arrival from one who had gone on in advance.
They were not astonished to see liberated captives or captive Moors, for
people on that coast are well used to see both one and the other; but
they were astonished at the beauty of Zoraida, which was just then
heightened, as well by the exertion of travelling as by joy at finding
herself on Christian soil, and relieved of all fear of being lost; for
this had brought such a glow upon her face, that unless my affection for
her were deceiving me, I would venture to say that there was not a more
beautiful creature in the world--at least, that I had ever seen. We went
straight to the church to return thanks to God for the mercies we had
received, and when Zoraida entered it she said there were faces there
like Lela Marien's. We told her they were her images; and as well as he
could the renegade explained to her what they meant, that she might adore
them as if each of them were the very same Lela Marien that had spoken to
her; and she, having great intelligence and a quick and clear instinct,
understood at once all he said to her about them. Thence they took us
away and distributed us all in different houses in the town; but as for
the renegade, Zoraida, and myself, the Christian who came with us brought
us to the house of his parents, who had a fair share of the gifts of
fortune, and treated us with as much kindness as they did their own son.

We remained six days in Velez, at the end of which the renegade, having
informed himself of all that was requisite for him to do, set out for the
city of Granada to restore himself to the sacred bosom of the Church
through the medium of the Holy Inquisition. The other released captives
took their departures, each the way that seemed best to him, and Zoraida
and I were left alone, with nothing more than the crowns which the
courtesy of the Frenchman had bestowed upon Zoraida, out of which I
bought the beast on which she rides; and, I for the present attending her
as her father and squire and not as her husband, we are now going to
ascertain if my father is living, or if any of my brothers has had better
fortune than mine has been; though, as Heaven has made me the companion
of Zoraida, I think no other lot could be assigned to me, however happy,
that I would rather have. The patience with which she endures the
hardships that poverty brings with it, and the eagerness she shows to
become a Christian, are such that they fill me with admiration, and bind
me to serve her all my life; though the happiness I feel in seeing myself
hers, and her mine, is disturbed and marred by not knowing whether I
shall find any corner to shelter her in my own country, or whether time
and death may not have made such changes in the fortunes and lives of my
father and brothers, that I shall hardly find anyone who knows me, if
they are not alive.

I have no more of my story to tell you, gentlemen; whether it be an
interesting or a curious one let your better judgments decide; all I can
say is I would gladly have told it to you more briefly; although my fear
of wearying you has made me leave out more than one circumstance.


                            DON QUIXOTE

                     by Miguel de Cervantes

                    Translated by John Ormsby

                            Volume I.

                             Part 15.



With these words the captive held his peace, and Don Fernando said to
him, "In truth, captain, the manner in which you have related this
remarkable adventure has been such as befitted the novelty and
strangeness of the matter. The whole story is curious and uncommon, and
abounds with incidents that fill the hearers with wonder and
astonishment; and so great is the pleasure we have found in listening to
it that we should be glad if it were to begin again, even though
to-morrow were to find us still occupied with the same tale." And while
he said this Cardenio and the rest of them offered to be of service to
him in any way that lay in their power, and in words and language so
kindly and sincere that the captain was much gratified by their
good-will. In particular Don Fernando offered, if he would go back with
him, to get his brother the marquis to become godfather at the baptism of
Zoraida, and on his own part to provide him with the means of making his
appearance in his own country with the credit and comfort he was entitled
to. For all this the captive returned thanks very courteously, although
he would not accept any of their generous offers.

By this time night closed in, and as it did, there came up to the inn a
coach attended by some men on horseback, who demanded accommodation; to
which the landlady replied that there was not a hand's breadth of the
whole inn unoccupied.

"Still, for all that," said one of those who had entered on horseback,
"room must be found for his lordship the Judge here."

At this name the landlady was taken aback, and said, "Senor, the fact is
I have no beds; but if his lordship the Judge carries one with him, as no
doubt he does, let him come in and welcome; for my husband and I will
give up our room to accommodate his worship."

"Very good, so be it," said the squire; but in the meantime a man had got
out of the coach whose dress indicated at a glance the office and post he
held, for the long robe with ruffled sleeves that he wore showed that he
was, as his servant said, a Judge of appeal. He led by the hand a young
girl in a travelling dress, apparently about sixteen years of age, and of
such a high-bred air, so beautiful and so graceful, that all were filled
with admiration when she made her appearance, and but for having seen
Dorothea, Luscinda, and Zoraida, who were there in the inn, they would
have fancied that a beauty like that of this maiden's would have been
hard to find. Don Quixote was present at the entrance of the Judge with
the young lady, and as soon as he saw him he said, "Your worship may with
confidence enter and take your ease in this castle; for though the
accommodation be scanty and poor, there are no quarters so cramped or
inconvenient that they cannot make room for arms and letters; above all
if arms and letters have beauty for a guide and leader, as letters
represented by your worship have in this fair maiden, to whom not only
ought castles to throw themselves open and yield themselves up, but rocks
should rend themselves asunder and mountains divide and bow themselves
down to give her a reception. Enter, your worship, I say, into this
paradise, for here you will find stars and suns to accompany the heaven
your worship brings with you, here you will find arms in their supreme
excellence, and beauty in its highest perfection."

The Judge was struck with amazement at the language of Don Quixote, whom
he scrutinized very carefully, no less astonished by his figure than by
his talk; and before he could find words to answer him he had a fresh
surprise, when he saw opposite to him Luscinda, Dorothea, and Zoraida,
who, having heard of the new guests and of the beauty of the young lady,
had come to see her and welcome her; Don Fernando, Cardenio, and the
curate, however, greeted him in a more intelligible and polished style.
In short, the Judge made his entrance in a state of bewilderment, as well
with what he saw as what he heard, and the fair ladies of the inn gave
the fair damsel a cordial welcome. On the whole he could perceive that
all who were there were people of quality; but with the figure,
countenance, and bearing of Don Quixote he was at his wits' end; and all
civilities having been exchanged, and the accommodation of the inn
inquired into, it was settled, as it had been before settled, that all
the women should retire to the garret that has been already mentioned,
and that the men should remain outside as if to guard them; the Judge,
therefore, was very well pleased to allow his daughter, for such the
damsel was, to go with the ladies, which she did very willingly; and with
part of the host's narrow bed and half of what the Judge had brought with
him, they made a more comfortable arrangement for the night than they had

The captive, whose heart had leaped within him the instant he saw the
Judge, telling him somehow that this was his brother, asked one of the
servants who accompanied him what his name was, and whether he knew from
what part of the country he came. The servant replied that he was called
the Licentiate Juan Perez de Viedma, and that he had heard it said he
came from a village in the mountains of Leon. From this statement, and
what he himself had seen, he felt convinced that this was his brother who
had adopted letters by his father's advice; and excited and rejoiced, he
called Don Fernando and Cardenio and the curate aside, and told them how
the matter stood, assuring them that the judge was his brother. The
servant had further informed him that he was now going to the Indies with
the appointment of Judge of the Supreme Court of Mexico; and he had
learned, likewise, that the young lady was his daughter, whose mother had
died in giving birth to her, and that he was very rich in consequence of
the dowry left to him with the daughter. He asked their advice as to what
means he should adopt to make himself known, or to ascertain beforehand
whether, when he had made himself known, his brother, seeing him so poor,
would be ashamed of him, or would receive him with a warm heart.

"Leave it to me to find out that," said the curate; "though there is no
reason for supposing, senor captain, that you will not be kindly
received, because the worth and wisdom that your brother's bearing shows
him to possess do not make it likely that he will prove haughty or
insensible, or that he will not know how to estimate the accidents of
fortune at their proper value."

"Still," said the captain, "I would not make myself known abruptly, but
in some indirect way."

"I have told you already," said the curate, "that I will manage it in a
way to satisfy us all."

By this time supper was ready, and they all took their seats at the
table, except the captive, and the ladies, who supped by themselves in
their own room. In the middle of supper the curate said:

"I had a comrade of your worship's name, Senor Judge, in Constantinople,
where I was a captive for several years, and that same comrade was one of
the stoutest soldiers and captains in the whole Spanish infantry; but he
had as large a share of misfortune as he had of gallantry and courage."

"And how was the captain called, senor?" asked the Judge.

"He was called Ruy Perez de Viedma," replied the curate, "and he was born
in a village in the mountains of Leon; and he mentioned a circumstance
connected with his father and his brothers which, had it not been told me
by so truthful a man as he was, I should have set down as one of those
fables the old women tell over the fire in winter; for he said his father
had divided his property among his three sons and had addressed words of
advice to them sounder than any of Cato's. But I can say this much, that
the choice he made of going to the wars was attended with such success,
that by his gallant conduct and courage, and without any help save his
own merit, he rose in a few years to be captain of infantry, and to see
himself on the high-road and in position to be given the command of a
corps before long; but Fortune was against him, for where he might have
expected her favour he lost it, and with it his liberty, on that glorious
day when so many recovered theirs, at the battle of Lepanto. I lost mine
at the Goletta, and after a variety of adventures we found ourselves
comrades at Constantinople. Thence he went to Algiers, where he met with
one of the most extraordinary adventures that ever befell anyone in the

Here the curate went on to relate briefly his brother's adventure with
Zoraida; to all which the Judge gave such an attentive hearing that he
never before had been so much of a hearer. The curate, however, only went
so far as to describe how the Frenchmen plundered those who were in the
boat, and the poverty and distress in which his comrade and the fair Moor
were left, of whom he said he had not been able to learn what became of
them, or whether they had reached Spain, or been carried to France by the

The captain, standing a little to one side, was listening to all the
curate said, and watching every movement of his brother, who, as soon as
he perceived the curate had made an end of his story, gave a deep sigh
and said with his eyes full of tears, "Oh, senor, if you only knew what
news you have given me and how it comes home to me, making me show how I
feel it with these tears that spring from my eyes in spite of all my
worldly wisdom and self-restraint! That brave captain that you speak of
is my eldest brother, who, being of a bolder and loftier mind than my
other brother or myself, chose the honourable and worthy calling of arms,
which was one of the three careers our father proposed to us, as your
comrade mentioned in that fable you thought he was telling you. I
followed that of letters, in which God and my own exertions have raised
me to the position in which you see me. My second brother is in Peru, so
wealthy that with what he has sent to my father and to me he has fully
repaid the portion he took with him, and has even furnished my father's
hands with the means of gratifying his natural generosity, while I too
have been enabled to pursue my studies in a more becoming and creditable
fashion, and so to attain my present standing. My father is still alive,
though dying with anxiety to hear of his eldest son, and he prays God
unceasingly that death may not close his eyes until he has looked upon
those of his son; but with regard to him what surprises me is, that
having so much common sense as he had, he should have neglected to give
any intelligence about himself, either in his troubles and sufferings, or
in his prosperity, for if his father or any of us had known of his
condition he need not have waited for that miracle of the reed to obtain
his ransom; but what now disquiets me is the uncertainty whether those
Frenchmen may have restored him to liberty, or murdered him to hide the
robbery. All this will make me continue my journey, not with the
satisfaction in which I began it, but in the deepest melancholy and
sadness. Oh dear brother! that I only knew where thou art now, and I
would hasten to seek thee out and deliver thee from thy sufferings,
though it were to cost me suffering myself! Oh that I could bring news to
our old father that thou art alive, even wert thou the deepest dungeon of
Barbary; for his wealth and my brother's and mine would rescue thee
thence! Oh beautiful and generous Zoraida, that I could repay thy good
goodness to a brother! That I could be present at the new birth of thy
soul, and at thy bridal that would give us all such happiness!"

All this and more the Judge uttered with such deep emotion at the news he
had received of his brother that all who heard him shared in it, showing
their sympathy with his sorrow. The curate, seeing, then, how well he had
succeeded in carrying out his purpose and the captain's wishes, had no
desire to keep them unhappy any longer, so he rose from the table and
going into the room where Zoraida was he took her by the hand, Luscinda,
Dorothea, and the Judge's daughter following her. The captain was waiting
to see what the curate would do, when the latter, taking him with the
other hand, advanced with both of them to where the Judge and the other
gentlemen were and said, "Let your tears cease to flow, Senor Judge, and
the wish of your heart be gratified as fully as you could desire, for you
have before you your worthy brother and your good sister-in-law. He whom
you see here is the Captain Viedma, and this is the fair Moor who has
been so good to him. The Frenchmen I told you of have reduced them to the
state of poverty you see that you may show the generosity of your kind

The captain ran to embrace his brother, who placed both hands on his
breast so as to have a good look at him, holding him a little way off but
as soon as he had fully recognised him he clasped him in his arms so
closely, shedding such tears of heartfelt joy, that most of those present
could not but join in them. The words the brothers exchanged, the emotion
they showed can scarcely be imagined, I fancy, much less put down in
writing. They told each other in a few words the events of their lives;
they showed the true affection of brothers in all its strength; then the
judge embraced Zoraida, putting all he possessed at her disposal; then he
made his daughter embrace her, and the fair Christian and the lovely Moor
drew fresh tears from every eye. And there was Don Quixote observing all
these strange proceedings attentively without uttering a word, and
attributing the whole to chimeras of knight-errantry. Then they agreed
that the captain and Zoraida should return with his brother to Seville,
and send news to his father of his having been delivered and found, so as
to enable him to come and be present at the marriage and baptism of
Zoraida, for it was impossible for the Judge to put off his journey, as
he was informed that in a month from that time the fleet was to sail from
Seville for New Spain, and to miss the passage would have been a great
inconvenience to him. In short, everybody was well pleased and glad at
the captive's good fortune; and as now almost two-thirds of the night
were past, they resolved to retire to rest for the remainder of it. Don
Quixote offered to mount guard over the castle lest they should be
attacked by some giant or other malevolent scoundrel, covetous of the
great treasure of beauty the castle contained. Those who understood him
returned him thanks for this service, and they gave the Judge an account
of his extraordinary humour, with which he was not a little amused.
Sancho Panza alone was fuming at the lateness of the hour for retiring to
rest; and he of all was the one that made himself most comfortable, as he
stretched himself on the trappings of his ass, which, as will be told
farther on, cost him so dear.

The ladies, then, having retired to their chamber, and the others having
disposed themselves with as little discomfort as they could, Don Quixote
sallied out of the inn to act as sentinel of the castle as he had
promised. It happened, however, that a little before the approach of dawn
a voice so musical and sweet reached the ears of the ladies that it
forced them all to listen attentively, but especially Dorothea, who had
been awake, and by whose side Dona Clara de Viedma, for so the Judge's
daughter was called, lay sleeping. No one could imagine who it was that
sang so sweetly, and the voice was unaccompanied by any instrument. At
one moment it seemed to them as if the singer were in the courtyard, at
another in the stable; and as they were all attention, wondering,
Cardenio came to the door and said, "Listen, whoever is not asleep, and
you will hear a muleteer's voice that enchants as it chants."

"We are listening to it already, senor," said Dorothea; on which Cardenio
went away; and Dorothea, giving all her attention to it, made out the
words of the song to be these:



Ah me, Love's mariner am I
  On Love's deep ocean sailing;
I know not where the haven lies,
  I dare not hope to gain it.

One solitary distant star
  Is all I have to guide me,
A brighter orb than those of old
  That Palinurus lighted.

And vaguely drifting am I borne,
  I know not where it leads me;
I fix my gaze on it alone,
  Of all beside it heedless.

But over-cautious prudery,
  And coyness cold and cruel,
When most I need it, these, like clouds,
  Its longed-for light refuse me.

Bright star, goal of my yearning eyes
  As thou above me beamest,
When thou shalt hide thee from my sight
  I'll know that death is near me.

The singer had got so far when it struck Dorothea that it was not fair to
let Clara miss hearing such a sweet voice, so, shaking her from side to
side, she woke her, saying:

"Forgive me, child, for waking thee, but I do so that thou mayest have
the pleasure of hearing the best voice thou hast ever heard, perhaps, in
all thy life."

Clara awoke quite drowsy, and not understanding at the moment what
Dorothea said, asked her what it was; she repeated what she had said, and
Clara became attentive at once; but she had hardly heard two lines, as
the singer continued, when a strange trembling seized her, as if she were
suffering from a severe attack of quartan ague, and throwing her arms
round Dorothea she said:

"Ah, dear lady of my soul and life! why did you wake me? The greatest
kindness fortune could do me now would be to close my eyes and ears so as
neither to see or hear that unhappy musician."

"What art thou talking about, child?" said Dorothea. "Why, they say this
singer is a muleteer!"

"Nay, he is the lord of many places," replied Clara, "and that one in my
heart which he holds so firmly shall never be taken from him, unless he
be willing to surrender it."

Dorothea was amazed at the ardent language of the girl, for it seemed to
be far beyond such experience of life as her tender years gave any
promise of, so she said to her:

"You speak in such a way that I cannot understand you, Senora Clara;
explain yourself more clearly, and tell me what is this you are saying
about hearts and places and this musician whose voice has so moved you?
But do not tell me anything now; I do not want to lose the pleasure I get
from listening to the singer by giving my attention to your transports,
for I perceive he is beginning to sing a new strain and a new air."

"Let him, in Heaven's name," returned Clara; and not to hear him she
stopped both ears with her hands, at which Dorothea was again surprised;
but turning her attention to the song she found that it ran in this

  Sweet Hope, my stay,
That onward to the goal of thy intent
  Dost make thy way,
Heedless of hindrance or impediment,
  Have thou no fear
If at each step thou findest death is near.

  No victory,
No joy of triumph doth the faint heart know;
  Unblest is he
That a bold front to Fortune dares not show,
  But soul and sense
In bondage yieldeth up to indolence.

  If Love his wares
Do dearly sell, his right must be contest;
  What gold compares
With that whereon his stamp he hath imprest?
  And all men know
What costeth little that we rate but low.

  Love resolute
Knows not the word "impossibility;"
  And though my suit
Beset by endless obstacles I see,
  Yet no despair
Shall hold me bound to earth while heaven is there.

Here the voice ceased and Clara's sobs began afresh, all which excited
Dorothea's curiosity to know what could be the cause of singing so sweet
and weeping so bitter, so she again asked her what it was she was going
to say before. On this Clara, afraid that Luscinda might overhear her,
winding her arms tightly round Dorothea put her mouth so close to her ear
that she could speak without fear of being heard by anyone else, and

"This singer, dear senora, is the son of a gentleman of Aragon, lord of
two villages, who lives opposite my father's house at Madrid; and though
my father had curtains to the windows of his house in winter, and
lattice-work in summer, in some way--I know not how--this gentleman, who
was pursuing his studies, saw me, whether in church or elsewhere, I
cannot tell, and, in fact, fell in love with me, and gave me to know it
from the windows of his house, with so many signs and tears that I was
forced to believe him, and even to love him, without knowing what it was
he wanted of me. One of the signs he used to make me was to link one hand
in the other, to show me he wished to marry me; and though I should have
been glad if that could be, being alone and motherless I knew not whom to
open my mind to, and so I left it as it was, showing him no favour,
except when my father, and his too, were from home, to raise the curtain
or the lattice a little and let him see me plainly, at which he would
show such delight that he seemed as if he were going mad. Meanwhile the
time for my father's departure arrived, which he became aware of, but not
from me, for I had never been able to tell him of it. He fell sick, of
grief I believe, and so the day we were going away I could not see him to
take farewell of him, were it only with the eyes. But after we had been
two days on the road, on entering the posada of a village a day's journey
from this, I saw him at the inn door in the dress of a muleteer, and so
well disguised, that if I did not carry his image graven on my heart it
would have been impossible for me to recognise him. But I knew him, and I
was surprised, and glad; he watched me, unsuspected by my father, from
whom he always hides himself when he crosses my path on the road, or in
the posadas where we halt; and, as I know what he is, and reflect that
for love of me he makes this journey on foot in all this hardship, I am
ready to die of sorrow; and where he sets foot there I set my eyes. I
know not with what object he has come; or how he could have got away from
his father, who loves him beyond measure, having no other heir, and
because he deserves it, as you will perceive when you see him. And
moreover, I can tell you, all that he sings is out of his own head; for I
have heard them say he is a great scholar and poet; and what is more,
every time I see him or hear him sing I tremble all over, and am
terrified lest my father should recognise him and come to know of our
loves. I have never spoken a word to him in my life; and for all that I
love him so that I could not live without him. This, dear senora, is all
I have to tell you about the musician whose voice has delighted you so
much; and from it alone you might easily perceive he is no muleteer, but
a lord of hearts and towns, as I told you already."

"Say no more, Dona Clara," said Dorothea at this, at the same time
kissing her a thousand times over, "say no more, I tell you, but wait
till day comes; when I trust in God to arrange this affair of yours so
that it may have the happy ending such an innocent beginning deserves."

"Ah, senora," said Dona Clara, "what end can be hoped for when his father
is of such lofty position, and so wealthy, that he would think I was not
fit to be even a servant to his son, much less wife? And as to marrying
without the knowledge of my father, I would not do it for all the world.
I would not ask anything more than that this youth should go back and
leave me; perhaps with not seeing him, and the long distance we shall
have to travel, the pain I suffer now may become easier; though I daresay
the remedy I propose will do me very little good. I don't know how the
devil this has come about, or how this love I have for him got in; I such
a young girl, and he such a mere boy; for I verily believe we are both of
an age, and I am not sixteen yet; for I will be sixteen Michaelmas Day,
next, my father says."

Dorothea could not help laughing to hear how like a child Dona Clara
spoke. "Let us go to sleep now, senora," said she, "for the little of the
night that I fancy is left to us: God will soon send us daylight, and we
will set all to rights, or it will go hard with me."

With this they fell asleep, and deep silence reigned all through the inn.
The only persons not asleep were the landlady's daughter and her servant
Maritornes, who, knowing the weak point of Don Quixote's humour, and that
he was outside the inn mounting guard in armour and on horseback,
resolved, the pair of them, to play some trick upon him, or at any rate
to amuse themselves for a while by listening to his nonsense. As it so
happened there was not a window in the whole inn that looked outwards
except a hole in the wall of a straw-loft through which they used to
throw out the straw. At this hole the two demi-damsels posted themselves,
and observed Don Quixote on his horse, leaning on his pike and from time
to time sending forth such deep and doleful sighs, that he seemed to
pluck up his soul by the roots with each of them; and they could hear
him, too, saying in a soft, tender, loving tone, "Oh my lady Dulcinea del
Toboso, perfection of all beauty, summit and crown of discretion,
treasure house of grace, depositary of virtue, and finally, ideal of all
that is good, honourable, and delectable in this world! What is thy grace
doing now? Art thou, perchance, mindful of thy enslaved knight who of his
own free will hath exposed himself to so great perils, and all to serve
thee? Give me tidings of her, oh luminary of the three faces! Perhaps at
this moment, envious of hers, thou art regarding her, either as she paces
to and fro some gallery of her sumptuous palaces, or leans over some
balcony, meditating how, whilst preserving her purity and greatness, she
may mitigate the tortures this wretched heart of mine endures for her
sake, what glory should recompense my sufferings, what repose my toil,
and lastly what death my life, and what reward my services? And thou, oh
sun, that art now doubtless harnessing thy steeds in haste to rise
betimes and come forth to see my lady; when thou seest her I entreat of
thee to salute her on my behalf: but have a care, when thou shalt see her
and salute her, that thou kiss not her face; for I shall be more jealous
of thee than thou wert of that light-footed ingrate that made thee sweat
and run so on the plains of Thessaly, or on the banks of the Peneus (for
I do not exactly recollect where it was thou didst run on that occasion)
in thy jealousy and love."

Don Quixote had got so far in his pathetic speech when the landlady's
daughter began to signal to him, saying, "Senor, come over here, please."

At these signals and voice Don Quixote turned his head and saw by the
light of the moon, which then was in its full splendour, that some one
was calling to him from the hole in the wall, which seemed to him to be a
window, and what is more, with a gilt grating, as rich castles, such as
he believed the inn to be, ought to have; and it immediately suggested
itself to his imagination that, as on the former occasion, the fair
damsel, the daughter of the lady of the castle, overcome by love for him,
was once more endeavouring to win his affections; and with this idea, not
to show himself discourteous, or ungrateful, he turned Rocinante's head
and approached the hole, and as he perceived the two wenches he said:

"I pity you, beauteous lady, that you should have directed your thoughts
of love to a quarter from whence it is impossible that such a return can
be made to you as is due to your great merit and gentle birth, for which
you must not blame this unhappy knight-errant whom love renders incapable
of submission to any other than her whom, the first moment his eyes
beheld her, he made absolute mistress of his soul. Forgive me, noble
lady, and retire to your apartment, and do not, by any further
declaration of your passion, compel me to show myself more ungrateful;
and if, of the love you bear me, you should find that there is anything
else in my power wherein I can gratify you, provided it be not love
itself, demand it of me; for I swear to you by that sweet absent enemy of
mine to grant it this instant, though it be that you require of me a lock
of Medusa's hair, which was all snakes, or even the very beams of the sun
shut up in a vial."

"My mistress wants nothing of that sort, sir knight," said Maritornes at

"What then, discreet dame, is it that your mistress wants?" replied Don

"Only one of your fair hands," said Maritornes, "to enable her to vent
over it the great passion passion which has brought her to this loophole,
so much to the risk of her honour; for if the lord her father had heard
her, the least slice he would cut off her would be her ear."

"I should like to see that tried," said Don Quixote; "but he had better
beware of that, if he does not want to meet the most disastrous end that
ever father in the world met for having laid hands on the tender limbs of
a love-stricken daughter."

Maritornes felt sure that Don Quixote would present the hand she had
asked, and making up her mind what to do, she got down from the hole and
went into the stable, where she took the halter of Sancho Panza's ass,
and in all haste returned to the hole, just as Don Quixote had planted
himself standing on Rocinante's saddle in order to reach the grated
window where he supposed the lovelorn damsel to be; and giving her his
hand, he said, "Lady, take this hand, or rather this scourge of the
evil-doers of the earth; take, I say, this hand which no other hand of
woman has ever touched, not even hers who has complete possession of my
entire body. I present it to you, not that you may kiss it, but that you
may observe the contexture of the sinews, the close network of the
muscles, the breadth and capacity of the veins, whence you may infer what
must be the strength of the arm that has such a hand."

"That we shall see presently," said Maritornes, and making a running knot
on the halter, she passed it over his wrist and coming down from the hole
tied the other end very firmly to the bolt of the door of the straw-loft.

Don Quixote, feeling the roughness of the rope on his wrist, exclaimed,
"Your grace seems to be grating rather than caressing my hand; treat it
not so harshly, for it is not to blame for the offence my resolution has
given you, nor is it just to wreak all your vengeance on so small a part;
remember that one who loves so well should not revenge herself so

But there was nobody now to listen to these words of Don Quixote's, for
as soon as Maritornes had tied him she and the other made off, ready to
die with laughing, leaving him fastened in such a way that it was
impossible for him to release himself.

He was, as has been said, standing on Rocinante, with his arm passed
through the hole and his wrist tied to the bolt of the door, and in
mighty fear and dread of being left hanging by the arm if Rocinante were
to stir one side or the other; so he did not dare to make the least
movement, although from the patience and imperturbable disposition of
Rocinante, he had good reason to expect that he would stand without
budging for a whole century. Finding himself fast, then, and that the
ladies had retired, he began to fancy that all this was done by
enchantment, as on the former occasion when in that same castle that
enchanted Moor of a carrier had belaboured him; and he cursed in his
heart his own want of sense and judgment in venturing to enter the castle
again, after having come off so badly the first time; it being a settled
point with knights-errant that when they have tried an adventure, and
have not succeeded in it, it is a sign that it is not reserved for them
but for others, and that therefore they need not try it again.
Nevertheless he pulled his arm to see if he could release himself, but it
had been made so fast that all his efforts were in vain. It is true he
pulled it gently lest Rocinante should move, but try as he might to seat
himself in the saddle, he had nothing for it but to stand upright or pull
his hand off. Then it was he wished for the sword of Amadis, against
which no enchantment whatever had any power; then he cursed his ill
fortune; then he magnified the loss the world would sustain by his
absence while he remained there enchanted, for that he believed he was
beyond all doubt; then he once more took to thinking of his beloved
Dulcinea del Toboso; then he called to his worthy squire Sancho Panza,
who, buried in sleep and stretched upon the pack-saddle of his ass, was
oblivious, at that moment, of the mother that bore him; then he called
upon the sages Lirgandeo and Alquife to come to his aid; then he invoked
his good friend Urganda to succour him; and then, at last, morning found
him in such a state of desperation and perplexity that he was bellowing
like a bull, for he had no hope that day would bring any relief to his
suffering, which he believed would last for ever, inasmuch as he was
enchanted; and of this he was convinced by seeing that Rocinante never
stirred, much or little, and he felt persuaded that he and his horse were
to remain in this state, without eating or drinking or sleeping, until
the malign influence of the stars was overpast, or until some other more
sage enchanter should disenchant him.

But he was very much deceived in this conclusion, for daylight had hardly
begun to appear when there came up to the inn four men on horseback, well
equipped and accoutred, with firelocks across their saddle-bows. They
called out and knocked loudly at the gate of the inn, which was still
shut; on seeing which, Don Quixote, even there where he was, did not
forget to act as sentinel, and said in a loud and imperious tone,
"Knights, or squires, or whatever ye be, ye have no right to knock at the
gates of this castle; for it is plain enough that they who are within are
either asleep, or else are not in the habit of throwing open the fortress
until the sun's rays are spread over the whole surface of the earth.
Withdraw to a distance, and wait till it is broad daylight, and then we
shall see whether it will be proper or not to open to you."

"What the devil fortress or castle is this," said one, "to make us stand
on such ceremony? If you are the innkeeper bid them open to us; we are
travellers who only want to feed our horses and go on, for we are in

"Do you think, gentlemen, that I look like an innkeeper?" said Don

"I don't know what you look like," replied the other; "but I know that
you are talking nonsense when you call this inn a castle."

"A castle it is," returned Don Quixote, "nay, more, one of the best in
this whole province, and it has within it people who have had the sceptre
in the hand and the crown on the head."

"It would be better if it were the other way," said the traveller, "the
sceptre on the head and the crown in the hand; but if so, may be there is
within some company of players, with whom it is a common thing to have
those crowns and sceptres you speak of; for in such a small inn as this,
and where such silence is kept, I do not believe any people entitled to
crowns and sceptres can have taken up their quarters."

"You know but little of the world," returned Don Quixote, "since you are
ignorant of what commonly occurs in knight-errantry."

But the comrades of the spokesman, growing weary of the dialogue with Don
Quixote, renewed their knocks with great vehemence, so much so that the
host, and not only he but everybody in the inn, awoke, and he got up to
ask who knocked. It happened at this moment that one of the horses of the
four who were seeking admittance went to smell Rocinante, who melancholy,
dejected, and with drooping ears stood motionless, supporting his sorely
stretched master; and as he was, after all, flesh, though he looked as if
he were made of wood, he could not help giving way and in return smelling
the one who had come to offer him attentions. But he had hardly moved at
all when Don Quixote lost his footing; and slipping off the saddle, he
would have come to the ground, but for being suspended by the arm, which
caused him such agony that he believed either his wrist would be cut
through or his arm torn off; and he hung so near the ground that he could
just touch it with his feet, which was all the worse for him; for,
finding how little was wanted to enable him to plant his feet firmly, he
struggled and stretched himself as much as he could to gain a footing;
just like those undergoing the torture of the strappado, when they are
fixed at "touch and no touch," who aggravate their own sufferings by
their violent efforts to stretch themselves, deceived by the hope which
makes them fancy that with a very little more they will reach the ground.



So loud, in fact, were the shouts of Don Quixote, that the landlord
opening the gate of the inn in all haste, came out in dismay, and ran to
see who was uttering such cries, and those who were outside joined him.
Maritornes, who had been by this time roused up by the same outcry,
suspecting what it was, ran to the loft and, without anyone seeing her,
untied the halter by which Don Quixote was suspended, and down he came to
the ground in the sight of the landlord and the travellers, who
approaching asked him what was the matter with him that he shouted so. He
without replying a word took the rope off his wrist, and rising to his
feet leaped upon Rocinante, braced his buckler on his arm, put his lance
in rest, and making a considerable circuit of the plain came back at a
half-gallop exclaiming:

"Whoever shall say that I have been enchanted with just cause, provided
my lady the Princess Micomicona grants me permission to do so, I give him
the lie, challenge him and defy him to single combat."

The newly arrived travellers were amazed at the words of Don Quixote; but
the landlord removed their surprise by telling them who he was, and not
to mind him as he was out of his senses. They then asked the landlord if
by any chance a youth of about fifteen years of age had come to that inn,
one dressed like a muleteer, and of such and such an appearance,
describing that of Dona Clara's lover. The landlord replied that there
were so many people in the inn he had not noticed the person they were
inquiring for; but one of them observing the coach in which the Judge had
come, said, "He is here no doubt, for this is the coach he is following:
let one of us stay at the gate, and the rest go in to look for him; or
indeed it would be as well if one of us went round the inn, lest he
should escape over the wall of the yard." "So be it," said another; and
while two of them went in, one remained at the gate and the other made
the circuit of the inn; observing all which, the landlord was unable to
conjecture for what reason they were taking all these precautions, though
he understood they were looking for the youth whose description they had
given him.

It was by this time broad daylight; and for that reason, as well as in
consequence of the noise Don Quixote had made, everybody was awake and
up, but particularly Dona Clara and Dorothea; for they had been able to
sleep but badly that night, the one from agitation at having her lover so
near her, the other from curiosity to see him. Don Quixote, when he saw
that not one of the four travellers took any notice of him or replied to
his challenge, was furious and ready to die with indignation and wrath;
and if he could have found in the ordinances of chivalry that it was
lawful for a knight-errant to undertake or engage in another enterprise,
when he had plighted his word and faith not to involve himself in any
until he had made an end of the one to which he was pledged, he would
have attacked the whole of them, and would have made them return an
answer in spite of themselves. But considering that it would not become
him, nor be right, to begin any new emprise until he had established
Micomicona in her kingdom, he was constrained to hold his peace and wait
quietly to see what would be the upshot of the proceedings of those same
travellers; one of whom found the youth they were seeking lying asleep by
the side of a muleteer, without a thought of anyone coming in search of
him, much less finding him.

The man laid hold of him by the arm, saying, "It becomes you well indeed,
Senor Don Luis, to be in the dress you wear, and well the bed in which I
find you agrees with the luxury in which your mother reared you."

The youth rubbed his sleepy eyes and stared for a while at him who held
him, but presently recognised him as one of his father's servants, at
which he was so taken aback that for some time he could not find or utter
a word; while the servant went on to say, "There is nothing for it now,
Senor Don Luis, but to submit quietly and return home, unless it is your
wish that my lord, your father, should take his departure for the other
world, for nothing else can be the consequence of the grief he is in at
your absence."

"But how did my father know that I had gone this road and in this dress?"
said Don Luis.

"It was a student to whom you confided your intentions," answered the
servant, "that disclosed them, touched with pity at the distress he saw
your father suffer on missing you; he therefore despatched four of his
servants in quest of you, and here we all are at your service, better
pleased than you can imagine that we shall return so soon and be able to
restore you to those eyes that so yearn for you."

"That shall be as I please, or as heaven orders," returned Don Luis.

"What can you please or heaven order," said the other, "except to agree
to go back? Anything else is impossible."

All this conversation between the two was overheard by the muleteer at
whose side Don Luis lay, and rising, he went to report what had taken
place to Don Fernando, Cardenio, and the others, who had by this time
dressed themselves; and told them how the man had addressed the youth as
"Don," and what words had passed, and how he wanted him to return to his
father, which the youth was unwilling to do. With this, and what they
already knew of the rare voice that heaven had bestowed upon him, they
all felt very anxious to know more particularly who he was, and even to
help him if it was attempted to employ force against him; so they
hastened to where he was still talking and arguing with his servant.
Dorothea at this instant came out of her room, followed by Dona Clara all
in a tremor; and calling Cardenio aside, she told him in a few words the
story of the musician and Dona Clara, and he at the same time told her
what had happened, how his father's servants had come in search of him;
but in telling her so, he did not speak low enough but that Dona Clara
heard what he said, at which she was so much agitated that had not
Dorothea hastened to support her she would have fallen to the ground.
Cardenio then bade Dorothea return to her room, as he would endeavour to
make the whole matter right, and they did as he desired. All the four who
had come in quest of Don Luis had now come into the inn and surrounded
him, urging him to return and console his father at once and without a
moment's delay. He replied that he could not do so on any account until
he had concluded some business in which his life, honour, and heart were
at stake. The servants pressed him, saying that most certainly they would
not return without him, and that they would take him away whether he
liked it or not.

"You shall not do that," replied Don Luis, "unless you take me dead;
though however you take me, it will be without life."

By this time most of those in the inn had been attracted by the dispute,
but particularly Cardenio, Don Fernando, his companions, the Judge, the
curate, the barber, and Don Quixote; for he now considered there was no
necessity for mounting guard over the castle any longer. Cardenio being
already acquainted with the young man's story, asked the men who wanted
to take him away, what object they had in seeking to carry off this youth
against his will.

"Our object," said one of the four, "is to save the life of his father,
who is in danger of losing it through this gentleman's disappearance."

Upon this Don Luis exclaimed, "There is no need to make my affairs public
here; I am free, and I will return if I please; and if not, none of you
shall compel me."

"Reason will compel your worship," said the man, "and if it has no power
over you, it has power over us, to make us do what we came for, and what
it is our duty to do."

"Let us hear what the whole affair is about," said the Judge at this; but
the man, who knew him as a neighbour of theirs, replied, "Do you not know
this gentleman, Senor Judge? He is the son of your neighbour, who has run
away from his father's house in a dress so unbecoming his rank, as your
worship may perceive."

The judge on this looked at him more carefully and recognised him, and
embracing him said, "What folly is this, Senor Don Luis, or what can have
been the cause that could have induced you to come here in this way, and
in this dress, which so ill becomes your condition?"

Tears came into the eyes of the young man, and he was unable to utter a
word in reply to the Judge, who told the four servants not to be uneasy,
for all would be satisfactorily settled; and then taking Don Luis by the
hand, he drew him aside and asked the reason of his having come there.

But while he was questioning him they heard a loud outcry at the gate of
the inn, the cause of which was that two of the guests who had passed the
night there, seeing everybody busy about finding out what it was the four
men wanted, had conceived the idea of going off without paying what they
owed; but the landlord, who minded his own affairs more than other
people's, caught them going out of the gate and demanded his reckoning,
abusing them for their dishonesty with such language that he drove them
to reply with their fists, and so they began to lay on him in such a
style that the poor man was forced to cry out, and call for help. The
landlady and her daughter could see no one more free to give aid than Don
Quixote, and to him the daughter said, "Sir knight, by the virtue God has
given you, help my poor father, for two wicked men are beating him to a

To which Don Quixote very deliberately and phlegmatically replied, "Fair
damsel, at the present moment your request is inopportune, for I am
debarred from involving myself in any adventure until I have brought to a
happy conclusion one to which my word has pledged me; but that which I
can do for you is what I will now mention: run and tell your father to
stand his ground as well as he can in this battle, and on no account to
allow himself to be vanquished, while I go and request permission of the
Princess Micomicona to enable me to succour him in his distress; and if
she grants it, rest assured I will relieve him from it."

"Sinner that I am," exclaimed Maritornes, who stood by; "before you have
got your permission my master will be in the other world."

"Give me leave, senora, to obtain the permission I speak of," returned
Don Quixote; "and if I get it, it will matter very little if he is in the
other world; for I will rescue him thence in spite of all the same world
can do; or at any rate I will give you such a revenge over those who
shall have sent him there that you will be more than moderately
satisfied;" and without saying anything more he went and knelt before
Dorothea, requesting her Highness in knightly and errant phrase to be
pleased to grant him permission to aid and succour the castellan of that
castle, who now stood in grievous jeopardy. The princess granted it
graciously, and he at once, bracing his buckler on his arm and drawing
his sword, hastened to the inn-gate, where the two guests were still
handling the landlord roughly; but as soon as he reached the spot he
stopped short and stood still, though Maritornes and the landlady asked
him why he hesitated to help their master and husband.

"I hesitate," said Don Quixote, "because it is not lawful for me to draw
sword against persons of squirely condition; but call my squire Sancho to
me; for this defence and vengeance are his affair and business."

Thus matters stood at the inn-gate, where there was a very lively
exchange of fisticuffs and punches, to the sore damage of the landlord
and to the wrath of Maritornes, the landlady, and her daughter, who were
furious when they saw the pusillanimity of Don Quixote, and the hard
treatment their master, husband and father was undergoing. But let us
leave him there; for he will surely find some one to help him, and if
not, let him suffer and hold his tongue who attempts more than his
strength allows him to do; and let us go back fifty paces to see what Don
Luis said in reply to the Judge whom we left questioning him privately as
to his reasons for coming on foot and so meanly dressed.

To which the youth, pressing his hand in a way that showed his heart was
troubled by some great sorrow, and shedding a flood of tears, made

"Senor, I have no more to tell you than that from the moment when,
through heaven's will and our being near neighbours, I first saw Dona
Clara, your daughter and my lady, from that instant I made her the
mistress of my will, and if yours, my true lord and father, offers no
impediment, this very day she shall become my wife. For her I left my
father's house, and for her I assumed this disguise, to follow her
whithersoever she may go, as the arrow seeks its mark or the sailor the
pole-star. She knows nothing more of my passion than what she may have
learned from having sometimes seen from a distance that my eyes were
filled with tears. You know already, senor, the wealth and noble birth of
my parents, and that I am their sole heir; if this be a sufficient
inducement for you to venture to make me completely happy, accept me at
once as your son; for if my father, influenced by other objects of his
own, should disapprove of this happiness I have sought for myself, time
has more power to alter and change things, than human will."

With this the love-smitten youth was silent, while the Judge, after
hearing him, was astonished, perplexed, and surprised, as well at the
manner and intelligence with which Don Luis had confessed the secret of
his heart, as at the position in which he found himself, not knowing what
course to take in a matter so sudden and unexpected. All the answer,
therefore, he gave him was to bid him to make his mind easy for the
present, and arrange with his servants not to take him back that day, so
that there might be time to consider what was best for all parties. Don
Luis kissed his hands by force, nay, bathed them with his tears, in a way
that would have touched a heart of marble, not to say that of the Judge,
who, as a shrewd man, had already perceived how advantageous the marriage
would be to his daughter; though, were it possible, he would have
preferred that it should be brought about with the consent of the father
of Don Luis, who he knew looked for a title for his son.

The guests had by this time made peace with the landlord, for, by
persuasion and Don Quixote's fair words more than by threats, they had
paid him what he demanded, and the servants of Don Luis were waiting for
the end of the conversation with the Judge and their master's decision,
when the devil, who never sleeps, contrived that the barber, from whom
Don Quixote had taken Mambrino's helmet, and Sancho Panza the trappings
of his ass in exchange for those of his own, should at this instant enter
the inn; which said barber, as he led his ass to the stable, observed
Sancho Panza engaged in repairing something or other belonging to the
pack-saddle; and the moment he saw it he knew it, and made bold to attack
Sancho, exclaiming, "Ho, sir thief, I have caught you! hand over my basin
and my pack-saddle, and all my trappings that you robbed me of."

Sancho, finding himself so unexpectedly assailed, and hearing the abuse
poured upon him, seized the pack-saddle with one hand, and with the other
gave the barber a cuff that bathed his teeth in blood. The barber,
however, was not so ready to relinquish the prize he had made in the
pack-saddle; on the contrary, he raised such an outcry that everyone in
the inn came running to know what the noise and quarrel meant. "Here, in
the name of the king and justice!" he cried, "this thief and highwayman
wants to kill me for trying to recover my property."

"You lie," said Sancho, "I am no highwayman; it was in fair war my master
Don Quixote won these spoils."

Don Quixote was standing by at the time, highly pleased to see his
squire's stoutness, both offensive and defensive, and from that time
forth he reckoned him a man of mettle, and in his heart resolved to dub
him a knight on the first opportunity that presented itself, feeling sure
that the order of chivalry would be fittingly bestowed upon him.

In the course of the altercation, among other things the barber said,
"Gentlemen, this pack-saddle is mine as surely as I owe God a death, and
I know it as well as if I had given birth to it, and here is my ass in
the stable who will not let me lie; only try it, and if it does not fit
him like a glove, call me a rascal; and what is more, the same day I was
robbed of this, they robbed me likewise of a new brass basin, never yet
handselled, that would fetch a crown any day."

At this Don Quixote could not keep himself from answering; and
interposing between the two, and separating them, he placed the
pack-saddle on the ground, to lie there in sight until the truth was
established, and said, "Your worships may perceive clearly and plainly
the error under which this worthy squire lies when he calls a basin which
was, is, and shall be the helmet of Mambrino which I won from him in air
war, and made myself master of by legitimate and lawful possession. With
the pack-saddle I do not concern myself; but I may tell you on that head
that my squire Sancho asked my permission to strip off the caparison of
this vanquished poltroon's steed, and with it adorn his own; I allowed
him, and he took it; and as to its having been changed from a caparison
into a pack-saddle, I can give no explanation except the usual one, that
such transformations will take place in adventures of chivalry. To
confirm all which, run, Sancho my son, and fetch hither the helmet which
this good fellow calls a basin."

"Egad, master," said Sancho, "if we have no other proof of our case than
what your worship puts forward, Mambrino's helmet is just as much a basin
as this good fellow's caparison is a pack-saddle."

"Do as I bid thee," said Don Quixote; "it cannot be that everything in
this castle goes by enchantment."

Sancho hastened to where the basin was, and brought it back with him, and
when Don Quixote saw it, he took hold of it and said:

"Your worships may see with what a face this squire can assert that this
is a basin and not the helmet I told you of; and I swear by the order of
chivalry I profess, that this helmet is the identical one I took from
him, without anything added to or taken from it."

"There is no doubt of that," said Sancho, "for from the time my master
won it until now he has only fought one battle in it, when he let loose
those unlucky men in chains; and if had not been for this basin-helmet he
would not have come off over well that time, for there was plenty of
stone-throwing in that affair."



"What do you think now, gentlemen," said the barber, "of what these
gentles say, when they want to make out that this is a helmet?"

"And whoever says the contrary," said Don Quixote, "I will let him know
he lies if he is a knight, and if he is a squire that he lies again a
thousand times."

Our own barber, who was present at all this, and understood Don Quixote's
humour so thoroughly, took it into his head to back up his delusion and
carry on the joke for the general amusement; so addressing the other
barber he said:

"Senor barber, or whatever you are, you must know that I belong to your
profession too, and have had a licence to practise for more than twenty
years, and I know the implements of the barber craft, every one of them,
perfectly well; and I was likewise a soldier for some time in the days of
my youth, and I know also what a helmet is, and a morion, and a headpiece
with a visor, and other things pertaining to soldiering, I meant to say
to soldiers' arms; and I say-saving better opinions and always with
submission to sounder judgments--that this piece we have now before us,
which this worthy gentleman has in his hands, not only is no barber's
basin, but is as far from being one as white is from black, and truth
from falsehood; I say, moreover, that this, although it is a helmet, is
not a complete helmet."

"Certainly not," said Don Quixote, "for half of it is wanting, that is to
say the beaver."

"It is quite true," said the curate, who saw the object of his friend the
barber; and Cardenio, Don Fernando and his companions agreed with him,
and even the Judge, if his thoughts had not been so full of Don Luis's
affair, would have helped to carry on the joke; but he was so taken up
with the serious matters he had on his mind that he paid little or no
attention to these facetious proceedings.

"God bless me!" exclaimed their butt the barber at this; "is it possible
that such an honourable company can say that this is not a basin but a
helmet? Why, this is a thing that would astonish a whole university,
however wise it might be! That will do; if this basin is a helmet, why,
then the pack-saddle must be a horse's caparison, as this gentleman has

"To me it looks like a pack-saddle," said Don Quixote; "but I have
already said that with that question I do not concern myself."

"As to whether it be pack-saddle or caparison," said the curate, "it is
only for Senor Don Quixote to say; for in these matters of chivalry all
these gentlemen and I bow to his authority."

"By God, gentlemen," said Don Quixote, "so many strange things have
happened to me in this castle on the two occasions on which I have
sojourned in it, that I will not venture to assert anything positively in
reply to any question touching anything it contains; for it is my belief
that everything that goes on within it goes by enchantment. The first
time, an enchanted Moor that there is in it gave me sore trouble, nor did
Sancho fare well among certain followers of his; and last night I was
kept hanging by this arm for nearly two hours, without knowing how or why
I came by such a mishap. So that now, for me to come forward to give an
opinion in such a puzzling matter, would be to risk a rash decision. As
regards the assertion that this is a basin and not a helmet I have
already given an answer; but as to the question whether this is a
pack-saddle or a caparison I will not venture to give a positive opinion,
but will leave it to your worships' better judgment. Perhaps as you are
not dubbed knights like myself, the enchantments of this place have
nothing to do with you, and your faculties are unfettered, and you can
see things in this castle as they really and truly are, and not as they
appear to me."

"There can be no question," said Don Fernando on this, "but that Senor
Don Quixote has spoken very wisely, and that with us rests the decision
of this matter; and that we may have surer ground to go on, I will take
the votes of the gentlemen in secret, and declare the result clearly and

To those who were in the secret of Don Quixote's humour all this afforded
great amusement; but to those who knew nothing about it, it seemed the
greatest nonsense in the world, in particular to the four servants of Don
Luis, as well as to Don Luis himself, and to three other travellers who
had by chance come to the inn, and had the appearance of officers of the
Holy Brotherhood, as indeed they were; but the one who above all was at
his wits' end, was the barber basin, there before his very eyes, had been
turned into Mambrino's helmet, and whose pack-saddle he had no doubt
whatever was about to become a rich caparison for a horse. All laughed to
see Don Fernando going from one to another collecting the votes, and
whispering to them to give him their private opinion whether the treasure
over which there had been so much fighting was a pack-saddle or a
caparison; but after he had taken the votes of those who knew Don
Quixote, he said aloud, "The fact is, my good fellow, that I am tired
collecting such a number of opinions, for I find that there is not one of
whom I ask what I desire to know, who does not tell me that it is absurd
to say that this is the pack-saddle of an ass, and not the caparison of a
horse, nay, of a thoroughbred horse; so you must submit, for, in spite of
you and your ass, this is a caparison and no pack-saddle, and you have
stated and proved your case very badly."

"May I never share heaven," said the poor barber, "if your worships are
not all mistaken; and may my soul appear before God as that appears to me
a pack-saddle and not a caparison; but, 'laws go,'-I say no more; and
indeed I am not drunk, for I am fasting, except it be from sin."

The simple talk of the barber did not afford less amusement than the
absurdities of Don Quixote, who now observed:

"There is no more to be done now than for each to take what belongs to
him, and to whom God has given it, may St. Peter add his blessing."

But said one of the four servants, "Unless, indeed, this is a deliberate
joke, I cannot bring myself to believe that men so intelligent as those
present are, or seem to be, can venture to declare and assert that this
is not a basin, and that not a pack-saddle; but as I perceive that they
do assert and declare it, I can only come to the conclusion that there is
some mystery in this persistence in what is so opposed to the evidence of
experience and truth itself; for I swear by"--and here he rapped out a
round oath-"all the people in the world will not make me believe that
this is not a barber's basin and that a jackass's pack-saddle."

"It might easily be a she-ass's," observed the curate.

"It is all the same," said the servant; "that is not the point; but
whether it is or is not a pack-saddle, as your worships say."

On hearing this one of the newly arrived officers of the Brotherhood, who
had been listening to the dispute and controversy, unable to restrain his
anger and impatience, exclaimed, "It is a pack-saddle as sure as my
father is my father, and whoever has said or will say anything else must
be drunk."

"You lie like a rascally clown," returned Don Quixote; and lifting his
pike, which he had never let out of his hand, he delivered such a blow at
his head that, had not the officer dodged it, it would have stretched him
at full length. The pike was shivered in pieces against the ground, and
the rest of the officers, seeing their comrade assaulted, raised a shout,
calling for help for the Holy Brotherhood. The landlord, who was of the
fraternity, ran at once to fetch his staff of office and his sword, and
ranged himself on the side of his comrades; the servants of Don Luis
clustered round him, lest he should escape from them in the confusion;
the barber, seeing the house turned upside down, once more laid hold of
his pack-saddle and Sancho did the same; Don Quixote drew his sword and
charged the officers; Don Luis cried out to his servants to leave him
alone and go and help Don Quixote, and Cardenio and Don Fernando, who
were supporting him; the curate was shouting at the top of his voice, the
landlady was screaming, her daughter was wailing, Maritornes was weeping,
Dorothea was aghast, Luscinda terror-stricken, and Dona Clara in a faint.
The barber cudgelled Sancho, and Sancho pommelled the barber; Don Luis
gave one of his servants, who ventured to catch him by the arm to keep
him from escaping, a cuff that bathed his teeth in blood; the Judge took
his part; Don Fernando had got one of the officers down and was
belabouring him heartily; the landlord raised his voice again calling for
help for the Holy Brotherhood; so that the whole inn was nothing but
cries, shouts, shrieks, confusion, terror, dismay, mishaps, sword-cuts,
fisticuffs, cudgellings, kicks, and bloodshed; and in the midst of all
this chaos, complication, and general entanglement, Don Quixote took it
into his head that he had been plunged into the thick of the discord of
Agramante's camp; and, in a voice that shook the inn like thunder, he
cried out:

"Hold all, let all sheathe their swords, let all be calm and attend to me
as they value their lives!"

All paused at his mighty voice, and he went on to say, "Did I not tell
you, sirs, that this castle was enchanted, and that a legion or so of
devils dwelt in it? In proof whereof I call upon you to behold with your
own eyes how the discord of Agramante's camp has come hither, and been
transferred into the midst of us. See how they fight, there for the
sword, here for the horse, on that side for the eagle, on this for the
helmet; we are all fighting, and all at cross purposes. Come then, you,
Senor Judge, and you, senor curate; let the one represent King Agramante
and the other King Sobrino, and make peace among us; for by God Almighty
it is a sorry business that so many persons of quality as we are should
slay one another for such trifling cause." The officers, who did not
understand Don Quixote's mode of speaking, and found themselves roughly
handled by Don Fernando, Cardenio, and their companions, were not to be
appeased; the barber was, however, for both his beard and his pack-saddle
were the worse for the struggle; Sancho like a good servant obeyed the
slightest word of his master; while the four servants of Don Luis kept
quiet when they saw how little they gained by not being so. The landlord
alone insisted upon it that they must punish the insolence of this
madman, who at every turn raised a disturbance in the inn; but at length
the uproar was stilled for the present; the pack-saddle remained a
caparison till the day of judgment, and the basin a helmet and the inn a
castle in Don Quixote's imagination.

All having been now pacified and made friends by the persuasion of the
Judge and the curate, the servants of Don Luis began again to urge him to
return with them at once; and while he was discussing the matter with
them, the Judge took counsel with Don Fernando, Cardenio, and the curate
as to what he ought to do in the case, telling them how it stood, and
what Don Luis had said to him. It was agreed at length that Don Fernando
should tell the servants of Don Luis who he was, and that it was his
desire that Don Luis should accompany him to Andalusia, where he would
receive from the marquis his brother the welcome his quality entitled him
to; for, otherwise, it was easy to see from the determination of Don Luis
that he would not return to his father at present, though they tore him
to pieces. On learning the rank of Don Fernando and the resolution of Don
Luis the four then settled it between themselves that three of them
should return to tell his father how matters stood, and that the other
should remain to wait upon Don Luis, and not leave him until they came
back for him, or his father's orders were known. Thus by the authority of
Agramante and the wisdom of King Sobrino all this complication of
disputes was arranged; but the enemy of concord and hater of peace,
feeling himself slighted and made a fool of, and seeing how little he had
gained after having involved them all in such an elaborate entanglement,
resolved to try his hand once more by stirring up fresh quarrels and

It came about in this wise: the officers were pacified on learning the
rank of those with whom they had been engaged, and withdrew from the
contest, considering that whatever the result might be they were likely
to get the worst of the battle; but one of them, the one who had been
thrashed and kicked by Don Fernando, recollected that among some warrants
he carried for the arrest of certain delinquents, he had one against Don
Quixote, whom the Holy Brotherhood had ordered to be arrested for setting
the galley slaves free, as Sancho had, with very good reason,
apprehended. Suspecting how it was, then, he wished to satisfy himself as
to whether Don Quixote's features corresponded; and taking a parchment
out of his bosom he lit upon what he was in search of, and setting
himself to read it deliberately, for he was not a quick reader, as he
made out each word he fixed his eyes on Don Quixote, and went on
comparing the description in the warrant with his face, and discovered
that beyond all doubt he was the person described in it. As soon as he
had satisfied himself, folding up the parchment, he took the warrant in
his left hand and with his right seized Don Quixote by the collar so
tightly that he did not allow him to breathe, and shouted aloud, "Help
for the Holy Brotherhood! and that you may see I demand it in earnest,
read this warrant which says this highwayman is to be arrested."

The curate took the warrant and saw that what the officer said was true,
and that it agreed with Don Quixote's appearance, who, on his part, when
he found himself roughly handled by this rascally clown, worked up to the
highest pitch of wrath, and all his joints cracking with rage, with both
hands seized the officer by the throat with all his might, so that had he
not been helped by his comrades he would have yielded up his life ere Don
Quixote released his hold. The landlord, who had perforce to support his
brother officers, ran at once to aid them. The landlady, when she saw her
husband engaged in a fresh quarrel, lifted up her voice afresh, and its
note was immediately caught up by Maritornes and her daughter, calling
upon heaven and all present for help; and Sancho, seeing what was going
on, exclaimed, "By the Lord, it is quite true what my master says about
the enchantments of this castle, for it is impossible to live an hour in
peace in it!"

Don Fernando parted the officer and Don Quixote, and to their mutual
contentment made them relax the grip by which they held, the one the coat
collar, the other the throat of his adversary; for all this, however, the
officers did not cease to demand their prisoner and call on them to help,
and deliver him over bound into their power, as was required for the
service of the King and of the Holy Brotherhood, on whose behalf they
again demanded aid and assistance to effect the capture of this robber
and footpad of the highways.

Don Quixote smiled when he heard these words, and said very calmly, "Come
now, base, ill-born brood; call ye it highway robbery to give freedom to
those in bondage, to release the captives, to succour the miserable, to
raise up the fallen, to relieve the needy? Infamous beings, who by your
vile grovelling intellects deserve that heaven should not make known to
you the virtue that lies in knight-errantry, or show you the sin and
ignorance in which ye lie when ye refuse to respect the shadow, not to
say the presence, of any knight-errant! Come now; band, not of officers,
but of thieves; footpads with the licence of the Holy Brotherhood; tell
me who was the ignoramus who signed a warrant of arrest against such a
knight as I am? Who was he that did not know that knights-errant are
independent of all jurisdictions, that their law is their sword, their
charter their prowess, and their edicts their will? Who, I say again, was
the fool that knows not that there are no letters patent of nobility that
confer such privileges or exemptions as a knight-errant acquires the day
he is dubbed a knight, and devotes himself to the arduous calling of
chivalry? What knight-errant ever paid poll-tax, duty, queen's pin-money,
king's dues, toll or ferry? What tailor ever took payment of him for
making his clothes? What castellan that received him in his castle ever
made him pay his shot? What king did not seat him at his table? What
damsel was not enamoured of him and did not yield herself up wholly to
his will and pleasure? And, lastly, what knight-errant has there been, is
there, or will there ever be in the world, not bold enough to give,
single-handed, four hundred cudgellings to four hundred officers of the
Holy Brotherhood if they come in his way?"



While Don Quixote was talking in this strain, the curate was endeavouring
to persuade the officers that he was out of his senses, as they might
perceive by his deeds and his words, and that they need not press the
matter any further, for even if they arrested him and carried him off,
they would have to release him by-and-by as a madman; to which the holder
of the warrant replied that he had nothing to do with inquiring into Don
Quixote's madness, but only to execute his superior's orders, and that
once taken they might let him go three hundred times if they liked.

"For all that," said the curate, "you must not take him away this time,
nor will he, it is my opinion, let himself be taken away."

In short, the curate used such arguments, and Don Quixote did such mad
things, that the officers would have been more mad than he was if they
had not perceived his want of wits, and so they thought it best to allow
themselves to be pacified, and even to act as peacemakers between the
barber and Sancho Panza, who still continued their altercation with much
bitterness. In the end they, as officers of justice, settled the question
by arbitration in such a manner that both sides were, if not perfectly
contented, at least to some extent satisfied; for they changed the
pack-saddles, but not the girths or head-stalls; and as to Mambrino's
helmet, the curate, under the rose and without Don Quixote's knowing it,
paid eight reals for the basin, and the barber executed a full receipt
and engagement to make no further demand then or thenceforth for
evermore, amen. These two disputes, which were the most important and
gravest, being settled, it only remained for the servants of Don Luis to
consent that three of them should return while one was left to accompany
him whither Don Fernando desired to take him; and good luck and better
fortune, having already begun to solve difficulties and remove
obstructions in favour of the lovers and warriors of the inn, were
pleased to persevere and bring everything to a happy issue; for the
servants agreed to do as Don Luis wished; which gave Dona Clara such
happiness that no one could have looked into her face just then without
seeing the joy of her heart. Zoraida, though she did not fully comprehend
all she saw, was grave or gay without knowing why, as she watched and
studied the various countenances, but particularly her Spaniard's, whom
she followed with her eyes and clung to with her soul. The gift and
compensation which the curate gave the barber had not escaped the
landlord's notice, and he demanded Don Quixote's reckoning, together with
the amount of the damage to his wine-skins, and the loss of his wine,
swearing that neither Rocinante nor Sancho's ass should leave the inn
until he had been paid to the very last farthing. The curate settled all
amicably, and Don Fernando paid; though the Judge had also very readily
offered to pay the score; and all became so peaceful and quiet that the
inn no longer reminded one of the discord of Agramante's camp, as Don
Quixote said, but of the peace and tranquillity of the days of
Octavianus: for all which it was the universal opinion that their thanks
were due to the great zeal and eloquence of the curate, and to the
unexampled generosity of Don Fernando.

Finding himself now clear and quit of all quarrels, his squire's as well
as his own, Don Quixote considered that it would be advisable to continue
the journey he had begun, and bring to a close that great adventure for
which he had been called and chosen; and with this high resolve he went
and knelt before Dorothea, who, however, would not allow him to utter a
word until he had risen; so to obey her he rose, and said, "It is a
common proverb, fair lady, that 'diligence is the mother of good
fortune,' and experience has often shown in important affairs that the
earnestness of the negotiator brings the doubtful case to a successful
termination; but in nothing does this truth show itself more plainly than
in war, where quickness and activity forestall the devices of the enemy,
and win the victory before the foe has time to defend himself. All this I
say, exalted and esteemed lady, because it seems to me that for us to
remain any longer in this castle now is useless, and may be injurious to
us in a way that we shall find out some day; for who knows but that your
enemy the giant may have learned by means of secret and diligent spies
that I am going to destroy him, and if the opportunity be given him he
may seize it to fortify himself in some impregnable castle or stronghold,
against which all my efforts and the might of my indefatigable arm may
avail but little? Therefore, lady, let us, as I say, forestall his
schemes by our activity, and let us depart at once in quest of fair
fortune; for your highness is only kept from enjoying it as fully as you
could desire by my delay in encountering your adversary."

Don Quixote held his peace and said no more, calmly awaiting the reply of
the beauteous princess, who, with commanding dignity and in a style
adapted to Don Quixote's own, replied to him in these words, "I give you
thanks, sir knight, for the eagerness you, like a good knight to whom it
is a natural obligation to succour the orphan and the needy, display to
afford me aid in my sore trouble; and heaven grant that your wishes and
mine may be realised, so that you may see that there are women in this
world capable of gratitude; as to my departure, let it be forthwith, for
I have no will but yours; dispose of me entirely in accordance with your
good pleasure; for she who has once entrusted to you the defence of her
person, and placed in your hands the recovery of her dominions, must not
think of offering opposition to that which your wisdom may ordain."

"On, then, in God's name," said Don Quixote; "for, when a lady humbles
herself to me, I will not lose the opportunity of raising her up and
placing her on the throne of her ancestors. Let us depart at once, for
the common saying that in delay there is danger, lends spurs to my
eagerness to take the road; and as neither heaven has created nor hell
seen any that can daunt or intimidate me, saddle Rocinante, Sancho, and
get ready thy ass and the queen's palfrey, and let us take leave of the
castellan and these gentlemen, and go hence this very instant."

Sancho, who was standing by all the time, said, shaking his head, "Ah!
master, master, there is more mischief in the village than one hears of,
begging all good bodies' pardon."

"What mischief can there be in any village, or in all the cities of the
world, you booby, that can hurt my reputation?" said Don Quixote.

"If your worship is angry," replied Sancho, "I will hold my tongue and
leave unsaid what as a good squire I am bound to say, and what a good
servant should tell his master."

"Say what thou wilt," returned Don Quixote, "provided thy words be not
meant to work upon my fears; for thou, if thou fearest, art behaving like
thyself; but I like myself, in not fearing."

"It is nothing of the sort, as I am a sinner before God," said Sancho,
"but that I take it to be sure and certain that this lady, who calls
herself queen of the great kingdom of Micomicon, is no more so than my
mother; for, if she was what she says, she would not go rubbing noses
with one that is here every instant and behind every door."

Dorothea turned red at Sancho's words, for the truth was that her husband
Don Fernando had now and then, when the others were not looking, gathered
from her lips some of the reward his love had earned, and Sancho seeing
this had considered that such freedom was more like a courtesan than a
queen of a great kingdom; she, however, being unable or not caring to
answer him, allowed him to proceed, and he continued, "This I say, senor,
because, if after we have travelled roads and highways, and passed bad
nights and worse days, one who is now enjoying himself in this inn is to
reap the fruit of our labours, there is no need for me to be in a hurry
to saddle Rocinante, put the pad on the ass, or get ready the palfrey;
for it will be better for us to stay quiet, and let every jade mind her
spinning, and let us go to dinner."

Good God, what was the indignation of Don Quixote when he heard the
audacious words of his squire! So great was it, that in a voice
inarticulate with rage, with a stammering tongue, and eyes that flashed
living fire, he exclaimed, "Rascally clown, boorish, insolent, and
ignorant, ill-spoken, foul-mouthed, impudent backbiter and slanderer!
Hast thou dared to utter such words in my presence and in that of these
illustrious ladies? Hast thou dared to harbour such gross and shameless
thoughts in thy muddled imagination? Begone from my presence, thou born
monster, storehouse of lies, hoard of untruths, garner of knaveries,
inventor of scandals, publisher of absurdities, enemy of the respect due
to royal personages! Begone, show thyself no more before me under pain of
my wrath;" and so saying he knitted his brows, puffed out his cheeks,
gazed around him, and stamped on the ground violently with his right
foot, showing in every way the rage that was pent up in his heart; and at
his words and furious gestures Sancho was so scared and terrified that he
would have been glad if the earth had opened that instant and swallowed
him, and his only thought was to turn round and make his escape from the
angry presence of his master.

But the ready-witted Dorothea, who by this time so well understood Don
Quixote's humour, said, to mollify his wrath, "Be not irritated at the
absurdities your good squire has uttered, Sir Knight of the Rueful
Countenance, for perhaps he did not utter them without cause, and from
his good sense and Christian conscience it is not likely that he would
bear false witness against anyone. We may therefore believe, without any
hesitation, that since, as you say, sir knight, everything in this castle
goes and is brought about by means of enchantment, Sancho, I say, may
possibly have seen, through this diabolical medium, what he says he saw
so much to the detriment of my modesty."

"I swear by God Omnipotent," exclaimed Don Quixote at this, "your
highness has hit the point; and that some vile illusion must have come
before this sinner of a Sancho, that made him see what it would have been
impossible to see by any other means than enchantments; for I know well
enough, from the poor fellow's goodness and harmlessness, that he is
incapable of bearing false witness against anybody."

"True, no doubt," said Don Fernando, "for which reason, Senor Don
Quixote, you ought to forgive him and restore him to the bosom of your
favour, sicut erat in principio, before illusions of this sort had taken
away his senses."

Don Quixote said he was ready to pardon him, and the curate went for
Sancho, who came in very humbly, and falling on his knees begged for the
hand of his master, who having presented it to him and allowed him to
kiss it, gave him his blessing and said, "Now, Sancho my son, thou wilt
be convinced of the truth of what I have many a time told thee, that
everything in this castle is done by means of enchantment."

"So it is, I believe," said Sancho, "except the affair of the blanket,
which came to pass in reality by ordinary means."

"Believe it not," said Don Quixote, "for had it been so, I would have
avenged thee that instant, or even now; but neither then nor now could I,
nor have I seen anyone upon whom to avenge thy wrong."

They were all eager to know what the affair of the blanket was, and the
landlord gave them a minute account of Sancho's flights, at which they
laughed not a little, and at which Sancho would have been no less out of
countenance had not his master once more assured him it was all
enchantment. For all that his simplicity never reached so high a pitch
that he could persuade himself it was not the plain and simple truth,
without any deception whatever about it, that he had been blanketed by
beings of flesh and blood, and not by visionary and imaginary phantoms,
as his master believed and protested.

The illustrious company had now been two days in the inn; and as it
seemed to them time to depart, they devised a plan so that, without
giving Dorothea and Don Fernando the trouble of going back with Don
Quixote to his village under pretence of restoring Queen Micomicona, the
curate and the barber might carry him away with them as they proposed,
and the curate be able to take his madness in hand at home; and in
pursuance of their plan they arranged with the owner of an oxcart who
happened to be passing that way to carry him after this fashion. They
constructed a kind of cage with wooden bars, large enough to hold Don
Quixote comfortably; and then Don Fernando and his companions, the
servants of Don Luis, and the officers of the Brotherhood, together with
the landlord, by the directions and advice of the curate, covered their
faces and disguised themselves, some in one way, some in another, so as
to appear to Don Quixote quite different from the persons he had seen in
the castle. This done, in profound silence they entered the room where he
was asleep, taking his his rest after the past frays, and advancing to
where he was sleeping tranquilly, not dreaming of anything of the kind
happening, they seized him firmly and bound him fast hand and foot, so
that, when he awoke startled, he was unable to move, and could only
marvel and wonder at the strange figures he saw before him; upon which he
at once gave way to the idea which his crazed fancy invariably conjured
up before him, and took it into his head that all these shapes were
phantoms of the enchanted castle, and that he himself was unquestionably
enchanted as he could neither move nor help himself; precisely what the
curate, the concoctor of the scheme, expected would happen. Of all that
were there Sancho was the only one who was at once in his senses and in
his own proper character, and he, though he was within very little of
sharing his master's infirmity, did not fail to perceive who all these
disguised figures were; but he did not dare to open his lips until he saw
what came of this assault and capture of his master; nor did the latter
utter a word, waiting to the upshot of his mishap; which was that
bringing in the cage, they shut him up in it and nailed the bars so
firmly that they could not be easily burst open.

They then took him on their shoulders, and as they passed out of the room
an awful voice--as much so as the barber, not he of the pack-saddle but
the other, was able to make it--was heard to say, "O Knight of the Rueful
Countenance, let not this captivity in which thou art placed afflict
thee, for this must needs be, for the more speedy accomplishment of the
adventure in which thy great heart has engaged thee; the which shall be
accomplished when the raging Manchegan lion and the white Tobosan dove
shall be linked together, having first humbled their haughty necks to the
gentle yoke of matrimony. And from this marvellous union shall come forth
to the light of the world brave whelps that shall rival the ravening
claws of their valiant father; and this shall come to pass ere the
pursuer of the flying nymph shall in his swift natural course have twice
visited the starry signs. And thou, O most noble and obedient squire that
ever bore sword at side, beard on face, or nose to smell with, be not
dismayed or grieved to see the flower of knight-errantry carried away
thus before thy very eyes; for soon, if it so please the Framer of the
universe, thou shalt see thyself exalted to such a height that thou shalt
not know thyself, and the promises which thy good master has made thee
shall not prove false; and I assure thee, on the authority of the sage
Mentironiana, that thy wages shall be paid thee, as thou shalt see in due
season. Follow then the footsteps of the valiant enchanted knight, for it
is expedient that thou shouldst go to the destination assigned to both of
you; and as it is not permitted to me to say more, God be with thee; for
I return to that place I wot of;" and as he brought the prophecy to a
close he raised his voice to a high pitch, and then lowered it to such a
soft tone, that even those who knew it was all a joke were almost
inclined to take what they heard seriously.

Don Quixote was comforted by the prophecy he heard, for he at once
comprehended its meaning perfectly, and perceived it was promised to him
that he should see himself united in holy and lawful matrimony with his
beloved Dulcinea del Toboso, from whose blessed womb should proceed the
whelps, his sons, to the eternal glory of La Mancha; and being thoroughly
and firmly persuaded of this, he lifted up his voice, and with a deep
sigh exclaimed, "Oh thou, whoever thou art, who hast foretold me so much
good, I implore of thee that on my part thou entreat that sage enchanter
who takes charge of my interests, that he leave me not to perish in this
captivity in which they are now carrying me away, ere I see fulfilled
promises so joyful and incomparable as those which have been now made me;
for, let this but come to pass, and I shall glory in the pains of my
prison, find comfort in these chains wherewith they bind me, and regard
this bed whereon they stretch me, not as a hard battle-field, but as a
soft and happy nuptial couch; and touching the consolation of Sancho
Panza, my squire, I rely upon his goodness and rectitude that he will not
desert me in good or evil fortune; for if, by his ill luck or mine, it
may not happen to be in my power to give him the island I have promised,
or any equivalent for it, at least his wages shall not be lost; for in my
will, which is already made, I have declared the sum that shall be paid
to him, measured, not by his many faithful services, but by the means at
my disposal."

Sancho bowed his head very respectfully and kissed both his hands, for,
being tied together, he could not kiss one; and then the apparitions
lifted the cage upon their shoulders and fixed it upon the ox-cart.


                            DON QUIXOTE

                     by Miguel de Cervantes

                    Translated by John Ormsby

                            Volume I.

                             Part 16.



When Don Quixote saw himself caged and hoisted on the cart in this way,
he said, "Many grave histories of knights-errant have I read; but never
yet have I read, seen, or heard of their carrying off enchanted
knights-errant in this fashion, or at the slow pace that these lazy,
sluggish animals promise; for they always take them away through the air
with marvellous swiftness, enveloped in a dark thick cloud, or on a
chariot of fire, or it may be on some hippogriff or other beast of the
kind; but to carry me off like this on an ox-cart! By God, it puzzles me!
But perhaps the chivalry and enchantments of our day take a different
course from that of those in days gone by; and it may be, too, that as I
am a new knight in the world, and the first to revive the already
forgotten calling of knight-adventurers, they may have newly invented
other kinds of enchantments and other modes of carrying off the
enchanted. What thinkest thou of the matter, Sancho my son?"

"I don't know what to think," answered Sancho, "not being as well read as
your worship in errant writings; but for all that I venture to say and
swear that these apparitions that are about us are not quite catholic."

"Catholic!" said Don Quixote. "Father of me! how can they be Catholic
when they are all devils that have taken fantastic shapes to come and do
this, and bring me to this condition? And if thou wouldst prove it, touch
them, and feel them, and thou wilt find they have only bodies of air, and
no consistency except in appearance."

"By God, master," returned Sancho, "I have touched them already; and that
devil, that goes about there so busily, has firm flesh, and another
property very different from what I have heard say devils have, for by
all accounts they all smell of brimstone and other bad smells; but this
one smells of amber half a league off." Sancho was here speaking of Don
Fernando, who, like a gentleman of his rank, was very likely perfumed as
Sancho said.

"Marvel not at that, Sancho my friend," said Don Quixote; "for let me
tell thee devils are crafty; and even if they do carry odours about with
them, they themselves have no smell, because they are spirits; or, if
they have any smell, they cannot smell of anything sweet, but of
something foul and fetid; and the reason is that as they carry hell with
them wherever they go, and can get no ease whatever from their torments,
and as a sweet smell is a thing that gives pleasure and enjoyment, it is
impossible that they can smell sweet; if, then, this devil thou speakest
of seems to thee to smell of amber, either thou art deceiving thyself, or
he wants to deceive thee by making thee fancy he is not a devil."

Such was the conversation that passed between master and man; and Don
Fernando and Cardenio, apprehensive of Sancho's making a complete
discovery of their scheme, towards which he had already gone some way,
resolved to hasten their departure, and calling the landlord aside, they
directed him to saddle Rocinante and put the pack-saddle on Sancho's ass,
which he did with great alacrity. In the meantime the curate had made an
arrangement with the officers that they should bear them company as far
as his village, he paying them so much a day. Cardenio hung the buckler
on one side of the bow of Rocinante's saddle and the basin on the other,
and by signs commanded Sancho to mount his ass and take Rocinante's
bridle, and at each side of the cart he placed two officers with their
muskets; but before the cart was put in motion, out came the landlady and
her daughter and Maritornes to bid Don Quixote farewell, pretending to
weep with grief at his misfortune; and to them Don Quixote said:

"Weep not, good ladies, for all these mishaps are the lot of those who
follow the profession I profess; and if these reverses did not befall me
I should not esteem myself a famous knight-errant; for such things never
happen to knights of little renown and fame, because nobody in the world
thinks about them; to valiant knights they do, for these are envied for
their virtue and valour by many princes and other knights who compass the
destruction of the worthy by base means. Nevertheless, virtue is of
herself so mighty, that, in spite of all the magic that Zoroaster its
first inventor knew, she will come victorious out of every trial, and
shed her light upon the earth as the sun does upon the heavens. Forgive
me, fair ladies, if, through inadvertence, I have in aught offended you;
for intentionally and wittingly I have never done so to any; and pray to
God that he deliver me from this captivity to which some malevolent
enchanter has consigned me; and should I find myself released therefrom,
the favours that ye have bestowed upon me in this castle shall be held in
memory by me, that I may acknowledge, recognise, and requite them as they

While this was passing between the ladies of the castle and Don Quixote,
the curate and the barber bade farewell to Don Fernando and his
companions, to the captain, his brother, and the ladies, now all made
happy, and in particular to Dorothea and Luscinda. They all embraced one
another, and promised to let each other know how things went with them,
and Don Fernando directed the curate where to write to him, to tell him
what became of Don Quixote, assuring him that there was nothing that
could give him more pleasure than to hear of it, and that he too, on his
part, would send him word of everything he thought he would like to know,
about his marriage, Zoraida's baptism, Don Luis's affair, and Luscinda's
return to her home. The curate promised to comply with his request
carefully, and they embraced once more, and renewed their promises.

The landlord approached the curate and handed him some papers, saying he
had discovered them in the lining of the valise in which the novel of
"The Ill-advised Curiosity" had been found, and that he might take them
all away with him as their owner had not since returned; for, as he could
not read, he did not want them himself. The curate thanked him, and
opening them he saw at the beginning of the manuscript the words, "Novel
of Rinconete and Cortadillo," by which he perceived that it was a novel,
and as that of "The Ill-advised Curiosity" had been good he concluded
this would be so too, as they were both probably by the same author; so
he kept it, intending to read it when he had an opportunity. He then
mounted and his friend the barber did the same, both masked, so as not to
be recognised by Don Quixote, and set out following in the rear of the
cart. The order of march was this: first went the cart with the owner
leading it; at each side of it marched the officers of the Brotherhood,
as has been said, with their muskets; then followed Sancho Panza on his
ass, leading Rocinante by the bridle; and behind all came the curate and
the barber on their mighty mules, with faces covered, as aforesaid, and a
grave and serious air, measuring their pace to suit the slow steps of the
oxen. Don Quixote was seated in the cage, with his hands tied and his
feet stretched out, leaning against the bars as silent and as patient as
if he were a stone statue and not a man of flesh. Thus slowly and
silently they made, it might be, two leagues, until they reached a valley
which the carter thought a convenient place for resting and feeding his
oxen, and he said so to the curate, but the barber was of opinion that
they ought to push on a little farther, as at the other side of a hill
which appeared close by he knew there was a valley that had more grass
and much better than the one where they proposed to halt; and his advice
was taken and they continued their journey.

Just at that moment the curate, looking back, saw coming on behind them
six or seven mounted men, well found and equipped, who soon overtook
them, for they were travelling, not at the sluggish, deliberate pace of
oxen, but like men who rode canons' mules, and in haste to take their
noontide rest as soon as possible at the inn which was in sight not a
league off. The quick travellers came up with the slow, and courteous
salutations were exchanged; and one of the new comers, who was, in fact,
a canon of Toledo and master of the others who accompanied him, observing
the regular order of the procession, the cart, the officers, Sancho,
Rocinante, the curate and the barber, and above all Don Quixote caged and
confined, could not help asking what was the meaning of carrying the man
in that fashion; though, from the badges of the officers, he already
concluded that he must be some desperate highwayman or other malefactor
whose punishment fell within the jurisdiction of the Holy Brotherhood.
One of the officers to whom he had put the question, replied, "Let the
gentleman himself tell you the meaning of his going this way, senor, for
we do not know."

Don Quixote overheard the conversation and said, "Haply, gentlemen, you
are versed and learned in matters of errant chivalry? Because if you are
I will tell you my misfortunes; if not, there is no good in my giving
myself the trouble of relating them;" but here the curate and the barber,
seeing that the travellers were engaged in conversation with Don Quixote,
came forward, in order to answer in such a way as to save their stratagem
from being discovered.

The canon, replying to Don Quixote, said, "In truth, brother, I know more
about books of chivalry than I do about Villalpando's elements of logic;
so if that be all, you may safely tell me what you please."

"In God's name, then, senor," replied Don Quixote; "if that be so, I
would have you know that I am held enchanted in this cage by the envy and
fraud of wicked enchanters; for virtue is more persecuted by the wicked
than loved by the good. I am a knight-errant, and not one of those whose
names Fame has never thought of immortalising in her record, but of those
who, in defiance and in spite of envy itself, and all the magicians that
Persia, or Brahmans that India, or Gymnosophists that Ethiopia ever
produced, will place their names in the temple of immortality, to serve
as examples and patterns for ages to come, whereby knights-errant may see
the footsteps in which they must tread if they would attain the summit
and crowning point of honour in arms."

"What Senor Don Quixote of La Mancha says," observed the curate, "is the
truth; for he goes enchanted in this cart, not from any fault or sins of
his, but because of the malevolence of those to whom virtue is odious and
valour hateful. This, senor, is the Knight of the Rueful Countenance, if
you have ever heard him named, whose valiant achievements and mighty
deeds shall be written on lasting brass and imperishable marble,
notwithstanding all the efforts of envy to obscure them and malice to
hide them."

When the canon heard both the prisoner and the man who was at liberty
talk in such a strain he was ready to cross himself in his astonishment,
and could not make out what had befallen him; and all his attendants were
in the same state of amazement.

At this point Sancho Panza, who had drawn near to hear the conversation,
said, in order to make everything plain, "Well, sirs, you may like or
dislike what I am going to say, but the fact of the matter is, my master,
Don Quixote, is just as much enchanted as my mother. He is in his full
senses, he eats and he drinks, and he has his calls like other men and as
he had yesterday, before they caged him. And if that's the case, what do
they mean by wanting me to believe that he is enchanted? For I have heard
many a one say that enchanted people neither eat, nor sleep, nor talk;
and my master, if you don't stop him, will talk more than thirty
lawyers." Then turning to the curate he exclaimed, "Ah, senor curate,
senor curate! do you think I don't know you? Do you think I don't guess
and see the drift of these new enchantments? Well then, I can tell you I
know you, for all your face is covered, and I can tell you I am up to
you, however you may hide your tricks. After all, where envy reigns
virtue cannot live, and where there is niggardliness there can be no
liberality. Ill betide the devil! if it had not been for your worship my
master would be married to the Princess Micomicona this minute, and I
should be a count at least; for no less was to be expected, as well from
the goodness of my master, him of the Rueful Countenance, as from the
greatness of my services. But I see now how true it is what they say in
these parts, that the wheel of fortune turns faster than a mill-wheel,
and that those who were up yesterday are down to-day. I am sorry for my
wife and children, for when they might fairly and reasonably expect to
see their father return to them a governor or viceroy of some island or
kingdom, they will see him come back a horse-boy. I have said all this,
senor curate, only to urge your paternity to lay to your conscience your
ill-treatment of my master; and have a care that God does not call you to
account in another life for making a prisoner of him in this way, and
charge against you all the succours and good deeds that my lord Don
Quixote leaves undone while he is shut up.

"Trim those lamps there!" exclaimed the barber at this; "so you are of
the same fraternity as your master, too, Sancho? By God, I begin to see
that you will have to keep him company in the cage, and be enchanted like
him for having caught some of his humour and chivalry. It was an evil
hour when you let yourself be got with child by his promises, and that
island you long so much for found its way into your head."

"I am not with child by anyone," returned Sancho, "nor am I a man to let
myself be got with child, if it was by the King himself. Though I am poor
I am an old Christian, and I owe nothing to nobody, and if I long for an
island, other people long for worse. Each of us is the son of his own
works; and being a man I may come to be pope, not to say governor of an
island, especially as my master may win so many that he will not know
whom to give them to. Mind how you talk, master barber; for shaving is
not everything, and there is some difference between Peter and Peter. I
say this because we all know one another, and it will not do to throw
false dice with me; and as to the enchantment of my master, God knows the
truth; leave it as it is; it only makes it worse to stir it."

The barber did not care to answer Sancho lest by his plain speaking he
should disclose what the curate and he himself were trying so hard to
conceal; and under the same apprehension the curate had asked the canon
to ride on a little in advance, so that he might tell him the mystery of
this man in the cage, and other things that would amuse him. The canon
agreed, and going on ahead with his servants, listened with attention to
the account of the character, life, madness, and ways of Don Quixote,
given him by the curate, who described to him briefly the beginning and
origin of his craze, and told him the whole story of his adventures up to
his being confined in the cage, together with the plan they had of taking
him home to try if by any means they could discover a cure for his
madness. The canon and his servants were surprised anew when they heard
Don Quixote's strange story, and when it was finished he said, "To tell
the truth, senor curate, I for my part consider what they call books of
chivalry to be mischievous to the State; and though, led by idle and
false taste, I have read the beginnings of almost all that have been
printed, I never could manage to read any one of them from beginning to
end; for it seems to me they are all more or less the same thing; and one
has nothing more in it than another; this no more than that. And in my
opinion this sort of writing and composition is of the same species as
the fables they call the Milesian, nonsensical tales that aim solely at
giving amusement and not instruction, exactly the opposite of the
apologue fables which amuse and instruct at the same time. And though it
may be the chief object of such books to amuse, I do not know how they
can succeed, when they are so full of such monstrous nonsense. For the
enjoyment the mind feels must come from the beauty and harmony which it
perceives or contemplates in the things that the eye or the imagination
brings before it; and nothing that has any ugliness or disproportion
about it can give any pleasure. What beauty, then, or what proportion of
the parts to the whole, or of the whole to the parts, can there be in a
book or fable where a lad of sixteen cuts down a giant as tall as a tower
and makes two halves of him as if he was an almond cake? And when they
want to give us a picture of a battle, after having told us that there
are a million of combatants on the side of the enemy, let the hero of the
book be opposed to them, and we have perforce to believe, whether we like
it or not, that the said knight wins the victory by the single might of
his strong arm. And then, what shall we say of the facility with which a
born queen or empress will give herself over into the arms of some
unknown wandering knight? What mind, that is not wholly barbarous and
uncultured, can find pleasure in reading of how a great tower full of
knights sails away across the sea like a ship with a fair wind, and will
be to-night in Lombardy and to-morrow morning in the land of Prester John
of the Indies, or some other that Ptolemy never described nor Marco Polo
saw? And if, in answer to this, I am told that the authors of books of
the kind write them as fiction, and therefore are not bound to regard
niceties of truth, I would reply that fiction is all the better the more
it looks like truth, and gives the more pleasure the more probability and
possibility there is about it. Plots in fiction should be wedded to the
understanding of the reader, and be constructed in such a way that,
reconciling impossibilities, smoothing over difficulties, keeping the
mind on the alert, they may surprise, interest, divert, and entertain, so
that wonder and delight joined may keep pace one with the other; all
which he will fail to effect who shuns verisimilitude and truth to
nature, wherein lies the perfection of writing. I have never yet seen any
book of chivalry that puts together a connected plot complete in all its
numbers, so that the middle agrees with the beginning, and the end with
the beginning and middle; on the contrary, they construct them with such
a multitude of members that it seems as though they meant to produce a
chimera or monster rather than a well-proportioned figure. And besides
all this they are harsh in their style, incredible in their achievements,
licentious in their amours, uncouth in their courtly speeches, prolix in
their battles, silly in their arguments, absurd in their travels, and, in
short, wanting in everything like intelligent art; for which reason they
deserve to be banished from the Christian commonwealth as a worthless

The curate listened to him attentively and felt that he was a man of
sound understanding, and that there was good reason in what he said; so
he told him that, being of the same opinion himself, and bearing a grudge
to books of chivalry, he had burned all Don Quixote's, which were many;
and gave him an account of the scrutiny he had made of them, and of those
he had condemned to the flames and those he had spared, with which the
canon was not a little amused, adding that though he had said so much in
condemnation of these books, still he found one good thing in them, and
that was the opportunity they afforded to a gifted intellect for
displaying itself; for they presented a wide and spacious field over
which the pen might range freely, describing shipwrecks, tempests,
combats, battles, portraying a valiant captain with all the
qualifications requisite to make one, showing him sagacious in foreseeing
the wiles of the enemy, eloquent in speech to encourage or restrain his
soldiers, ripe in counsel, rapid in resolve, as bold in biding his time
as in pressing the attack; now picturing some sad tragic incident, now
some joyful and unexpected event; here a beauteous lady, virtuous, wise,
and modest; there a Christian knight, brave and gentle; here a lawless,
barbarous braggart; there a courteous prince, gallant and gracious;
setting forth the devotion and loyalty of vassals, the greatness and
generosity of nobles. "Or again," said he, "the author may show himself
to be an astronomer, or a skilled cosmographer, or musician, or one
versed in affairs of state, and sometimes he will have a chance of coming
forward as a magician if he likes. He can set forth the craftiness of
Ulysses, the piety of AEneas, the valour of Achilles, the misfortunes of
Hector, the treachery of Sinon, the friendship of Euryalus, the
generosity of Alexander, the boldness of Caesar, the clemency and truth
of Trajan, the fidelity of Zopyrus, the wisdom of Cato, and in short all
the faculties that serve to make an illustrious man perfect, now uniting
them in one individual, again distributing them among many; and if this
be done with charm of style and ingenious invention, aiming at the truth
as much as possible, he will assuredly weave a web of bright and varied
threads that, when finished, will display such perfection and beauty that
it will attain the worthiest object any writing can seek, which, as I
said before, is to give instruction and pleasure combined; for the
unrestricted range of these books enables the author to show his powers,
epic, lyric, tragic, or comic, and all the moods the sweet and winning
arts of poesy and oratory are capable of; for the epic may be written in
prose just as well as in verse."



"It is as you say, senor canon," said the curate; "and for that reason
those who have hitherto written books of the sort deserve all the more
censure for writing without paying any attention to good taste or the
rules of art, by which they might guide themselves and become as famous
in prose as the two princes of Greek and Latin poetry are in verse."

"I myself, at any rate," said the canon, "was once tempted to write a
book of chivalry in which all the points I have mentioned were to be
observed; and if I must own the truth I have more than a hundred sheets
written; and to try if it came up to my own opinion of it, I showed them
to persons who were fond of this kind of reading, to learned and
intelligent men as well as to ignorant people who cared for nothing but
the pleasure of listening to nonsense, and from all I obtained flattering
approval; nevertheless I proceeded no farther with it, as well because it
seemed to me an occupation inconsistent with my profession, as because I
perceived that the fools are more numerous than the wise; and, though it
is better to be praised by the wise few than applauded by the foolish
many, I have no mind to submit myself to the stupid judgment of the silly
public, to whom the reading of such books falls for the most part.

"But what most of all made me hold my hand and even abandon all idea of
finishing it was an argument I put to myself taken from the plays that
are acted now-a-days, which was in this wise: if those that are now in
vogue, as well those that are pure invention as those founded on history,
are, all or most of them, downright nonsense and things that have neither
head nor tail, and yet the public listens to them with delight, and
regards and cries them up as perfection when they are so far from it; and
if the authors who write them, and the players who act them, say that
this is what they must be, for the public wants this and will have
nothing else; and that those that go by rule and work out a plot
according to the laws of art will only find some half-dozen intelligent
people to understand them, while all the rest remain blind to the merit
of their composition; and that for themselves it is better to get bread
from the many than praise from the few; then my book will fare the same
way, after I have burnt off my eyebrows in trying to observe the
principles I have spoken of, and I shall be 'the tailor of the corner.'
And though I have sometimes endeavoured to convince actors that they are
mistaken in this notion they have adopted, and that they would attract
more people, and get more credit, by producing plays in accordance with
the rules of art, than by absurd ones, they are so thoroughly wedded to
their own opinion that no argument or evidence can wean them from it.

"I remember saying one day to one of these obstinate fellows, 'Tell me,
do you not recollect that a few years ago, there were three tragedies
acted in Spain, written by a famous poet of these kingdoms, which were
such that they filled all who heard them with admiration, delight, and
interest, the ignorant as well as the wise, the masses as well as the
higher orders, and brought in more money to the performers, these three
alone, than thirty of the best that have been since produced?'

"'No doubt,' replied the actor in question, 'you mean the "Isabella," the
"Phyllis," and the "Alexandra."'

"'Those are the ones I mean,' said I; 'and see if they did not observe
the principles of art, and if, by observing them, they failed to show
their superiority and please all the world; so that the fault does not
lie with the public that insists upon nonsense, but with those who don't
know how to produce something else. "The Ingratitude Revenged" was not
nonsense, nor was there any in "The Numantia," nor any to be found in
"The Merchant Lover," nor yet in "The Friendly Fair Foe," nor in some
others that have been written by certain gifted poets, to their own fame
and renown, and to the profit of those that brought them out;' some
further remarks I added to these, with which, I think, I left him rather
dumbfoundered, but not so satisfied or convinced that I could disabuse
him of his error."

"You have touched upon a subject, senor canon," observed the curate here,
"that has awakened an old enmity I have against the plays in vogue at the
present day, quite as strong as that which I bear to the books of
chivalry; for while the drama, according to Tully, should be the mirror
of human life, the model of manners, and the image of the truth, those
which are presented now-a-days are mirrors of nonsense, models of folly,
and images of lewdness. For what greater nonsense can there be in
connection with what we are now discussing than for an infant to appear
in swaddling clothes in the first scene of the first act, and in the
second a grown-up bearded man? Or what greater absurdity can there be
than putting before us an old man as a swashbuckler, a young man as a
poltroon, a lackey using fine language, a page giving sage advice, a king
plying as a porter, a princess who is a kitchen-maid? And then what shall
I say of their attention to the time in which the action they represent
may or can take place, save that I have seen a play where the first act
began in Europe, the second in Asia, the third finished in Africa, and no
doubt, had it been in four acts, the fourth would have ended in America,
and so it would have been laid in all four quarters of the globe? And if
truth to life is the main thing the drama should keep in view, how is it
possible for any average understanding to be satisfied when the action is
supposed to pass in the time of King Pepin or Charlemagne, and the
principal personage in it they represent to be the Emperor Heraclius who
entered Jerusalem with the cross and won the Holy Sepulchre, like Godfrey
of Bouillon, there being years innumerable between the one and the other?
or, if the play is based on fiction and historical facts are introduced,
or bits of what occurred to different people and at different times mixed
up with it, all, not only without any semblance of probability, but with
obvious errors that from every point of view are inexcusable? And the
worst of it is, there are ignorant people who say that this is
perfection, and that anything beyond this is affected refinement. And
then if we turn to sacred dramas--what miracles they invent in them! What
apocryphal, ill-devised incidents, attributing to one saint the miracles
of another! And even in secular plays they venture to introduce miracles
without any reason or object except that they think some such miracle, or
transformation as they call it, will come in well to astonish stupid
people and draw them to the play. All this tends to the prejudice of the
truth and the corruption of history, nay more, to the reproach of the
wits of Spain; for foreigners who scrupulously observe the laws of the
drama look upon us as barbarous and ignorant, when they see the absurdity
and nonsense of the plays we produce. Nor will it be a sufficient excuse
to say that the chief object well-ordered governments have in view when
they permit plays to be performed in public is to entertain the people
with some harmless amusement occasionally, and keep it from those evil
humours which idleness is apt to engender; and that, as this may be
attained by any sort of play, good or bad, there is no need to lay down
laws, or bind those who write or act them to make them as they ought to
be made, since, as I say, the object sought for may be secured by any
sort. To this I would reply that the same end would be, beyond all
comparison, better attained by means of good plays than by those that are
not so; for after listening to an artistic and properly constructed play,
the hearer will come away enlivened by the jests, instructed by the
serious parts, full of admiration at the incidents, his wits sharpened by
the arguments, warned by the tricks, all the wiser for the examples,
inflamed against vice, and in love with virtue; for in all these ways a
good play will stimulate the mind of the hearer be he ever so boorish or
dull; and of all impossibilities the greatest is that a play endowed with
all these qualities will not entertain, satisfy, and please much more
than one wanting in them, like the greater number of those which are
commonly acted now-a-days. Nor are the poets who write them to be blamed
for this; for some there are among them who are perfectly well aware of
their faults, and know what they ought to do; but as plays have become a
salable commodity, they say, and with truth, that the actors will not buy
them unless they are after this fashion; and so the poet tries to adapt
himself to the requirements of the actor who is to pay him for his work.
And that this is the truth may be seen by the countless plays that a most
fertile wit of these kingdoms has written, with so much brilliancy, so
much grace and gaiety, such polished versification, such choice language,
such profound reflections, and in a word, so rich in eloquence and
elevation of style, that he has filled the world with his fame; and yet,
in consequence of his desire to suit the taste of the actors, they have
not all, as some of them have, come as near perfection as they ought.
Others write plays with such heedlessness that, after they have been
acted, the actors have to fly and abscond, afraid of being punished, as
they often have been, for having acted something offensive to some king
or other, or insulting to some noble family. All which evils, and many
more that I say nothing of, would be removed if there were some
intelligent and sensible person at the capital to examine all plays
before they were acted, not only those produced in the capital itself,
but all that were intended to be acted in Spain; without whose approval,
seal, and signature, no local magistracy should allow any play to be
acted. In that case actors would take care to send their plays to the
capital, and could act them in safety, and those who write them would be
more careful and take more pains with their work, standing in awe of
having to submit it to the strict examination of one who understood the
matter; and so good plays would be produced and the objects they aim at
happily attained; as well the amusement of the people, as the credit of
the wits of Spain, the interest and safety of the actors, and the saving
of trouble in inflicting punishment on them. And if the same or some
other person were authorised to examine the newly written books of
chivalry, no doubt some would appear with all the perfections you have
described, enriching our language with the gracious and precious treasure
of eloquence, and driving the old books into obscurity before the light
of the new ones that would come out for the harmless entertainment, not
merely of the idle but of the very busiest; for the bow cannot be always
bent, nor can weak human nature exist without some lawful amusement."

The canon and the curate had proceeded thus far with their conversation,
when the barber, coming forward, joined them, and said to the curate,
"This is the spot, senor licentiate, that I said was a good one for fresh
and plentiful pasture for the oxen, while we take our noontide rest."

"And so it seems," returned the curate, and he told the canon what he
proposed to do, on which he too made up his mind to halt with them,
attracted by the aspect of the fair valley that lay before their eyes;
and to enjoy it as well as the conversation of the curate, to whom he had
begun to take a fancy, and also to learn more particulars about the
doings of Don Quixote, he desired some of his servants to go on to the
inn, which was not far distant, and fetch from it what eatables there
might be for the whole party, as he meant to rest for the afternoon where
he was; to which one of his servants replied that the sumpter mule, which
by this time ought to have reached the inn, carried provisions enough to
make it unnecessary to get anything from the inn except barley.

"In that case," said the canon, "take all the beasts there, and bring the
sumpter mule back."

While this was going on, Sancho, perceiving that he could speak to his
master without having the curate and the barber, of whom he had his
suspicions, present all the time, approached the cage in which Don
Quixote was placed, and said, "Senor, to ease my conscience I want to
tell you the state of the case as to your enchantment, and that is that
these two here, with their faces covered, are the curate of our village
and the barber; and I suspect they have hit upon this plan of carrying
you off in this fashion, out of pure envy because your worship surpasses
them in doing famous deeds; and if this be the truth it follows that you
are not enchanted, but hoodwinked and made a fool of. And to prove this I
want to ask you one thing; and if you answer me as I believe you will
answer, you will be able to lay your finger on the trick, and you will
see that you are not enchanted but gone wrong in your wits."

"Ask what thou wilt, Sancho my son," returned Don Quixote, "for I will
satisfy thee and answer all thou requirest. As to what thou sayest, that
these who accompany us yonder are the curate and the barber, our
neighbours and acquaintances, it is very possible that they may seem to
be those same persons; but that they are so in reality and in fact,
believe it not on any account; what thou art to believe and think is
that, if they look like them, as thou sayest, it must be that those who
have enchanted me have taken this shape and likeness; for it is easy for
enchanters to take any form they please, and they may have taken those of
our friends in order to make thee think as thou dost, and lead thee into
a labyrinth of fancies from which thou wilt find no escape though thou
hadst the cord of Theseus; and they may also have done it to make me
uncertain in my mind, and unable to conjecture whence this evil comes to
me; for if on the one hand thou dost tell me that the barber and curate
of our village are here in company with us, and on the other I find
myself shut up in a cage, and know in my heart that no power on earth
that was not supernatural would have been able to shut me in, what
wouldst thou have me say or think, but that my enchantment is of a sort
that transcends all I have ever read of in all the histories that deal
with knights-errant that have been enchanted? So thou mayest set thy mind
at rest as to the idea that they are what thou sayest, for they are as
much so as I am a Turk. But touching thy desire to ask me something, say
on, and I will answer thee, though thou shouldst ask questions from this
till to-morrow morning."

"May Our Lady be good to me!" said Sancho, lifting up his voice; "and is
it possible that your worship is so thick of skull and so short of brains
that you cannot see that what I say is the simple truth, and that malice
has more to do with your imprisonment and misfortune than enchantment?
But as it is so, I will prove plainly to you that you are not enchanted.
Now tell me, so may God deliver you from this affliction, and so may you
find yourself when you least expect it in the arms of my lady Dulcinea-"

"Leave off conjuring me," said Don Quixote, "and ask what thou wouldst
know; I have already told thee I will answer with all possible

"That is what I want," said Sancho; "and what I would know, and have you
tell me, without adding or leaving out anything, but telling the whole
truth as one expects it to be told, and as it is told, by all who profess
arms, as your worship professes them, under the title of knights-errant-"

"I tell thee I will not lie in any particular," said Don Quixote; "finish
thy question; for in truth thou weariest me with all these asseverations,
requirements, and precautions, Sancho."

"Well, I rely on the goodness and truth of my master," said Sancho; "and
so, because it bears upon what we are talking about, I would ask,
speaking with all reverence, whether since your worship has been shut up
and, as you think, enchanted in this cage, you have felt any desire or
inclination to go anywhere, as the saying is?"

"I do not understand 'going anywhere,'" said Don Quixote; "explain
thyself more clearly, Sancho, if thou wouldst have me give an answer to
the point."

"Is it possible," said Sancho, "that your worship does not understand
'going anywhere'? Why, the schoolboys know that from the time they were
babes. Well then, you must know I mean have you had any desire to do what
cannot be avoided?"

"Ah! now I understand thee, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "yes, often, and
even this minute; get me out of this strait, or all will not go right."



"Aha, I have caught you," said Sancho; "this is what in my heart and soul
I was longing to know. Come now, senor, can you deny what is commonly
said around us, when a person is out of humour, 'I don't know what ails
so-and-so, that he neither eats, nor drinks, nor sleeps, nor gives a
proper answer to any question; one would think he was enchanted'? From
which it is to be gathered that those who do not eat, or drink, or sleep,
or do any of the natural acts I am speaking of-that such persons are
enchanted; but not those that have the desire your worship has, and drink
when drink is given them, and eat when there is anything to eat, and
answer every question that is asked them."

"What thou sayest is true, Sancho," replied Don Quixote; "but I have
already told thee there are many sorts of enchantments, and it may be
that in the course of time they have been changed one for another, and
that now it may be the way with enchanted people to do all that I do,
though they did not do so before; so it is vain to argue or draw
inferences against the usage of the time. I know and feel that I am
enchanted, and that is enough to ease my conscience; for it would weigh
heavily on it if I thought that I was not enchanted, and that in a
faint-hearted and cowardly way I allowed myself to lie in this cage,
defrauding multitudes of the succour I might afford to those in need and
distress, who at this very moment may be in sore want of my aid and

"Still for all that," replied Sancho, "I say that, for your greater and
fuller satisfaction, it would be well if your worship were to try to get
out of this prison (and I promise to do all in my power to help, and even
to take you out of it), and see if you could once more mount your good
Rocinante, who seems to be enchanted too, he is so melancholy and
dejected; and then we might try our chance in looking for adventures
again; and if we have no luck there will be time enough to go back to the
cage; in which, on the faith of a good and loyal squire, I promise to
shut myself up along with your worship, if so be you are so unfortunate,
or I so stupid, as not to be able to carry out my plan."

"I am content to do as thou sayest, brother Sancho," said Don Quixote,
"and when thou seest an opportunity for effecting my release I will obey
thee absolutely; but thou wilt see, Sancho, how mistaken thou art in thy
conception of my misfortune."

The knight-errant and the ill-errant squire kept up their conversation
till they reached the place where the curate, the canon, and the barber,
who had already dismounted, were waiting for them. The carter at once
unyoked the oxen and left them to roam at large about the pleasant green
spot, the freshness of which seemed to invite, not enchanted people like
Don Quixote, but wide-awake, sensible folk like his squire, who begged
the curate to allow his master to leave the cage for a little; for if
they did not let him out, the prison might not be as clean as the
propriety of such a gentleman as his master required. The curate
understood him, and said he would very gladly comply with his request,
only that he feared his master, finding himself at liberty, would take to
his old courses and make off where nobody could ever find him again.

"I will answer for his not running away," said Sancho.

"And I also," said the canon, "especially if he gives me his word as a
knight not to leave us without our consent."

Don Quixote, who was listening to all this, said, "I give it;-moreover
one who is enchanted as I am cannot do as he likes with himself; for he
who had enchanted him could prevent his moving from one place for three
ages, and if he attempted to escape would bring him back flying."--And
that being so, they might as well release him, particularly as it would
be to the advantage of all; for, if they did not let him out, he
protested he would be unable to avoid offending their nostrils unless
they kept their distance.

The canon took his hand, tied together as they both were, and on his word
and promise they unbound him, and rejoiced beyond measure he was to find
himself out of the cage. The first thing he did was to stretch himself
all over, and then he went to where Rocinante was standing and giving him
a couple of slaps on the haunches said, "I still trust in God and in his
blessed mother, O flower and mirror of steeds, that we shall soon see
ourselves, both of us, as we wish to be, thou with thy master on thy
back, and I mounted upon thee, following the calling for which God sent
me into the world." And so saying, accompanied by Sancho, he withdrew to
a retired spot, from which he came back much relieved and more eager than
ever to put his squire's scheme into execution.

The canon gazed at him, wondering at the extraordinary nature of his
madness, and that in all his remarks and replies he should show such
excellent sense, and only lose his stirrups, as has been already said,
when the subject of chivalry was broached. And so, moved by compassion,
he said to him, as they all sat on the green grass awaiting the arrival
of the provisions:

"Is it possible, gentle sir, that the nauseous and idle reading of books
of chivalry can have had such an effect on your worship as to upset your
reason so that you fancy yourself enchanted, and the like, all as far
from the truth as falsehood itself is? How can there be any human
understanding that can persuade itself there ever was all that infinity
of Amadises in the world, or all that multitude of famous knights, all
those emperors of Trebizond, all those Felixmartes of Hircania, all those
palfreys, and damsels-errant, and serpents, and monsters, and giants, and
marvellous adventures, and enchantments of every kind, and battles, and
prodigious encounters, splendid costumes, love-sick princesses, squires
made counts, droll dwarfs, love letters, billings and cooings,
swashbuckler women, and, in a word, all that nonsense the books of
chivalry contain? For myself, I can only say that when I read them, so
long as I do not stop to think that they are all lies and frivolity, they
give me a certain amount of pleasure; but when I come to consider what
they are, I fling the very best of them at the wall, and would fling it
into the fire if there were one at hand, as richly deserving such
punishment as cheats and impostors out of the range of ordinary
toleration, and as founders of new sects and modes of life, and teachers
that lead the ignorant public to believe and accept as truth all the
folly they contain. And such is their audacity, they even dare to
unsettle the wits of gentlemen of birth and intelligence, as is shown
plainly by the way they have served your worship, when they have brought
you to such a pass that you have to be shut up in a cage and carried on
an ox-cart as one would carry a lion or a tiger from place to place to
make money by showing it. Come, Senor Don Quixote, have some compassion
for yourself, return to the bosom of common sense, and make use of the
liberal share of it that heaven has been pleased to bestow upon you,
employing your abundant gifts of mind in some other reading that may
serve to benefit your conscience and add to your honour. And if, still
led away by your natural bent, you desire to read books of achievements
and of chivalry, read the Book of Judges in the Holy Scriptures, for
there you will find grand reality, and deeds as true as they are heroic.
Lusitania had a Viriatus, Rome a Caesar, Carthage a Hannibal, Greece an
Alexander, Castile a Count Fernan Gonzalez, Valencia a Cid, Andalusia a
Gonzalo Fernandez, Estremadura a Diego Garcia de Paredes, Jerez a Garci
Perez de Vargas, Toledo a Garcilaso, Seville a Don Manuel de Leon, to
read of whose valiant deeds will entertain and instruct the loftiest
minds and fill them with delight and wonder. Here, Senor Don Quixote,
will be reading worthy of your sound understanding; from which you will
rise learned in history, in love with virtue, strengthened in goodness,
improved in manners, brave without rashness, prudent without cowardice;
and all to the honour of God, your own advantage and the glory of La
Mancha, whence, I am informed, your worship derives your birth."

Don Quixote listened with the greatest attention to the canon's words,
and when he found he had finished, after regarding him for some time, he
replied to him:

"It appears to me, gentle sir, that your worship's discourse is intended
to persuade me that there never were any knights-errant in the world, and
that all the books of chivalry are false, lying, mischievous and useless
to the State, and that I have done wrong in reading them, and worse in
believing them, and still worse in imitating them, when I undertook to
follow the arduous calling of knight-errantry which they set forth; for
you deny that there ever were Amadises of Gaul or of Greece, or any other
of the knights of whom the books are full."

"It is all exactly as you state it," said the canon; to which Don Quixote
returned, "You also went on to say that books of this kind had done me
much harm, inasmuch as they had upset my senses, and shut me up in a
cage, and that it would be better for me to reform and change my studies,
and read other truer books which would afford more pleasure and

"Just so," said the canon.

"Well then," returned Don Quixote, "to my mind it is you who are the one
that is out of his wits and enchanted, as you have ventured to utter such
blasphemies against a thing so universally acknowledged and accepted as
true that whoever denies it, as you do, deserves the same punishment
which you say you inflict on the books that irritate you when you read
them. For to try to persuade anybody that Amadis, and all the other
knights-adventurers with whom the books are filled, never existed, would
be like trying to persuade him that the sun does not yield light, or ice
cold, or earth nourishment. What wit in the world can persuade another
that the story of the Princess Floripes and Guy of Burgundy is not true,
or that of Fierabras and the bridge of Mantible, which happened in the
time of Charlemagne? For by all that is good it is as true as that it is
daylight now; and if it be a lie, it must be a lie too that there was a
Hector, or Achilles, or Trojan war, or Twelve Peers of France, or Arthur
of England, who still lives changed into a raven, and is unceasingly
looked for in his kingdom. One might just as well try to make out that
the history of Guarino Mezquino, or of the quest of the Holy Grail, is
false, or that the loves of Tristram and the Queen Yseult are apocryphal,
as well as those of Guinevere and Lancelot, when there are persons who
can almost remember having seen the Dame Quintanona, who was the best
cupbearer in Great Britain. And so true is this, that I recollect a
grandmother of mine on the father's side, whenever she saw any dame in a
venerable hood, used to say to me, 'Grandson, that one is like Dame
Quintanona,' from which I conclude that she must have known her, or at
least had managed to see some portrait of her. Then who can deny that the
story of Pierres and the fair Magalona is true, when even to this day may
be seen in the king's armoury the pin with which the valiant Pierres
guided the wooden horse he rode through the air, and it is a trifle
bigger than the pole of a cart? And alongside of the pin is Babieca's
saddle, and at Roncesvalles there is Roland's horn, as large as a large
beam; whence we may infer that there were Twelve Peers, and a Pierres,
and a Cid, and other knights like them, of the sort people commonly call
adventurers. Or perhaps I shall be told, too, that there was no such
knight-errant as the valiant Lusitanian Juan de Merlo, who went to
Burgundy and in the city of Arras fought with the famous lord of Charny,
Mosen Pierres by name, and afterwards in the city of Basle with Mosen
Enrique de Remesten, coming out of both encounters covered with fame and
honour; or adventures and challenges achieved and delivered, also in
Burgundy, by the valiant Spaniards Pedro Barba and Gutierre Quixada (of
whose family I come in the direct male line), when they vanquished the
sons of the Count of San Polo. I shall be told, too, that Don Fernando de
Guevara did not go in quest of adventures to Germany, where he engaged in
combat with Micer George, a knight of the house of the Duke of Austria. I
shall be told that the jousts of Suero de Quinones, him of the 'Paso,'
and the emprise of Mosen Luis de Falces against the Castilian knight, Don
Gonzalo de Guzman, were mere mockeries; as well as many other
achievements of Christian knights of these and foreign realms, which are
so authentic and true, that, I repeat, he who denies them must be totally
wanting in reason and good sense."

The canon was amazed to hear the medley of truth and fiction Don Quixote
uttered, and to see how well acquainted he was with everything relating
or belonging to the achievements of his knight-errantry; so he said in

"I cannot deny, Senor Don Quixote, that there is some truth in what you
say, especially as regards the Spanish knights-errant; and I am willing
to grant too that the Twelve Peers of France existed, but I am not
disposed to believe that they did all the things that the Archbishop
Turpin relates of them. For the truth of the matter is they were knights
chosen by the kings of France, and called 'Peers' because they were all
equal in worth, rank and prowess (at least if they were not they ought to
have been), and it was a kind of religious order like those of Santiago
and Calatrava in the present day, in which it is assumed that those who
take it are valiant knights of distinction and good birth; and just as we
say now a Knight of St. John, or of Alcantara, they used to say then a
Knight of the Twelve Peers, because twelve equals were chosen for that
military order. That there was a Cid, as well as a Bernardo del Carpio,
there can be no doubt; but that they did the deeds people say they did, I
hold to be very doubtful. In that other matter of the pin of Count
Pierres that you speak of, and say is near Babieca's saddle in the
Armoury, I confess my sin; for I am either so stupid or so short-sighted,
that, though I have seen the saddle, I have never been able to see the
pin, in spite of it being as big as your worship says it is."

"For all that it is there, without any manner of doubt," said Don
Quixote; "and more by token they say it is inclosed in a sheath of
cowhide to keep it from rusting."

"All that may be," replied the canon; "but, by the orders I have
received, I do not remember seeing it. However, granting it is there,
that is no reason why I am bound to believe the stories of all those
Amadises and of all that multitude of knights they tell us about, nor is
it reasonable that a man like your worship, so worthy, and with so many
good qualities, and endowed with such a good understanding, should allow
himself to be persuaded that such wild crazy things as are written in
those absurd books of chivalry are really true."


                            DON QUIXOTE

                     by Miguel de Cervantes

                    Translated by John Ormsby

                            Volume I.

                             Part 17.



"A good joke, that!" returned Don Quixote. "Books that have been printed
with the king's licence, and with the approbation of those to whom they
have been submitted, and read with universal delight, and extolled by
great and small, rich and poor, learned and ignorant, gentle and simple,
in a word by people of every sort, of whatever rank or condition they may
be--that these should be lies! And above all when they carry such an
appearance of truth with them; for they tell us the father, mother,
country, kindred, age, place, and the achievements, step by step, and day
by day, performed by such a knight or knights! Hush, sir; utter not such
blasphemy; trust me I am advising you now to act as a sensible man
should; only read them, and you will see the pleasure you will derive
from them. For, come, tell me, can there be anything more delightful than
to see, as it were, here now displayed before us a vast lake of bubbling
pitch with a host of snakes and serpents and lizards, and ferocious and
terrible creatures of all sorts swimming about in it, while from the
middle of the lake there comes a plaintive voice saying: 'Knight,
whosoever thou art who beholdest this dread lake, if thou wouldst win the
prize that lies hidden beneath these dusky waves, prove the valour of thy
stout heart and cast thyself into the midst of its dark burning waters,
else thou shalt not be worthy to see the mighty wonders contained in the
seven castles of the seven Fays that lie beneath this black expanse;' and
then the knight, almost ere the awful voice has ceased, without stopping
to consider, without pausing to reflect upon the danger to which he is
exposing himself, without even relieving himself of the weight of his
massive armour, commending himself to God and to his lady, plunges into
the midst of the boiling lake, and when he little looks for it, or knows
what his fate is to be, he finds himself among flowery meadows, with
which the Elysian fields are not to be compared.

"The sky seems more transparent there, and the sun shines with a strange
brilliancy, and a delightful grove of green leafy trees presents itself
to the eyes and charms the sight with its verdure, while the ear is
soothed by the sweet untutored melody of the countless birds of gay
plumage that flit to and fro among the interlacing branches. Here he sees
a brook whose limpid waters, like liquid crystal, ripple over fine sands
and white pebbles that look like sifted gold and purest pearls. There he
perceives a cunningly wrought fountain of many-coloured jasper and
polished marble; here another of rustic fashion where the little
mussel-shells and the spiral white and yellow mansions of the snail
disposed in studious disorder, mingled with fragments of glittering
crystal and mock emeralds, make up a work of varied aspect, where art,
imitating nature, seems to have outdone it.

"Suddenly there is presented to his sight a strong castle or gorgeous
palace with walls of massy gold, turrets of diamond and gates of jacinth;
in short, so marvellous is its structure that though the materials of
which it is built are nothing less than diamonds, carbuncles, rubies,
pearls, gold, and emeralds, the workmanship is still more rare. And after
having seen all this, what can be more charming than to see how a bevy of
damsels comes forth from the gate of the castle in gay and gorgeous
attire, such that, were I to set myself now to depict it as the histories
describe it to us, I should never have done; and then how she who seems
to be the first among them all takes the bold knight who plunged into the
boiling lake by the hand, and without addressing a word to him leads him
into the rich palace or castle, and strips him as naked as when his
mother bore him, and bathes him in lukewarm water, and anoints him all
over with sweet-smelling unguents, and clothes him in a shirt of the
softest sendal, all scented and perfumed, while another damsel comes and
throws over his shoulders a mantle which is said to be worth at the very
least a city, and even more? How charming it is, then, when they tell us
how, after all this, they lead him to another chamber where he finds the
tables set out in such style that he is filled with amazement and wonder;
to see how they pour out water for his hands distilled from amber and
sweet-scented flowers; how they seat him on an ivory chair; to see how
the damsels wait on him all in profound silence; how they bring him such
a variety of dainties so temptingly prepared that the appetite is at a
loss which to select; to hear the music that resounds while he is at
table, by whom or whence produced he knows not. And then when the repast
is over and the tables removed, for the knight to recline in the chair,
picking his teeth perhaps as usual, and a damsel, much lovelier than any
of the others, to enter unexpectedly by the chamber door, and herself by
his side, and begin to tell him what the castle is, and how she is held
enchanted there, and other things that amaze the knight and astonish the
readers who are perusing his history.

"But I will not expatiate any further upon this, as it may be gathered
from it that whatever part of whatever history of a knight-errant one
reads, it will fill the reader, whoever he be, with delight and wonder;
and take my advice, sir, and, as I said before, read these books and you
will see how they will banish any melancholy you may feel and raise your
spirits should they be depressed. For myself I can say that since I have
been a knight-errant I have become valiant, polite, generous, well-bred,
magnanimous, courteous, dauntless, gentle, patient, and have learned to
bear hardships, imprisonments, and enchantments; and though it be such a
short time since I have seen myself shut up in a cage like a madman, I
hope by the might of my arm, if heaven aid me and fortune thwart me not,
to see myself king of some kingdom where I may be able to show the
gratitude and generosity that dwell in my heart; for by my faith, senor,
the poor man is incapacitated from showing the virtue of generosity to
anyone, though he may possess it in the highest degree; and gratitude
that consists of disposition only is a dead thing, just as faith without
works is dead. For this reason I should be glad were fortune soon to
offer me some opportunity of making myself an emperor, so as to show my
heart in doing good to my friends, particularly to this poor Sancho
Panza, my squire, who is the best fellow in the world; and I would gladly
give him a county I have promised him this ever so long, only that I am
afraid he has not the capacity to govern his realm."

Sancho partly heard these last words of his master, and said to him,
"Strive hard you, Senor Don Quixote, to give me that county so often
promised by you and so long looked for by me, for I promise you there
will be no want of capacity in me to govern it; and even if there is, I
have heard say there are men in the world who farm seigniories, paying so
much a year, and they themselves taking charge of the government, while
the lord, with his legs stretched out, enjoys the revenue they pay him,
without troubling himself about anything else. That's what I'll do, and
not stand haggling over trifles, but wash my hands at once of the whole
business, and enjoy my rents like a duke, and let things go their own

"That, brother Sancho," said the canon, "only holds good as far as the
enjoyment of the revenue goes; but the lord of the seigniory must attend
to the administration of justice, and here capacity and sound judgment
come in, and above all a firm determination to find out the truth; for if
this be wanting in the beginning, the middle and the end will always go
wrong; and God as commonly aids the honest intentions of the simple as he
frustrates the evil designs of the crafty."

"I don't understand those philosophies," returned Sancho Panza; "all I
know is I would I had the county as soon as I shall know how to govern
it; for I have as much soul as another, and as much body as anyone, and I
shall be as much king of my realm as any other of his; and being so I
should do as I liked, and doing as I liked I should please myself, and
pleasing myself I should be content, and when one is content he has
nothing more to desire, and when one has nothing more to desire there is
an end of it; so let the county come, and God he with you, and let us see
one another, as one blind man said to the other."

"That is not bad philosophy thou art talking, Sancho," said the canon;
"but for all that there is a good deal to be said on this matter of

To which Don Quixote returned, "I know not what more there is to be said;
I only guide myself by the example set me by the great Amadis of Gaul,
when he made his squire count of the Insula Firme; and so, without any
scruples of conscience, I can make a count of Sancho Panza, for he is one
of the best squires that ever knight-errant had."

The canon was astonished at the methodical nonsense (if nonsense be
capable of method) that Don Quixote uttered, at the way in which he had
described the adventure of the knight of the lake, at the impression that
the deliberate lies of the books he read had made upon him, and lastly he
marvelled at the simplicity of Sancho, who desired so eagerly to obtain
the county his master had promised him.

By this time the canon's servants, who had gone to the inn to fetch the
sumpter mule, had returned, and making a carpet and the green grass of
the meadow serve as a table, they seated themselves in the shade of some
trees and made their repast there, that the carter might not be deprived
of the advantage of the spot, as has been already said. As they were
eating they suddenly heard a loud noise and the sound of a bell that
seemed to come from among some brambles and thick bushes that were close
by, and the same instant they observed a beautiful goat, spotted all over
black, white, and brown, spring out of the thicket with a goatherd after
it, calling to it and uttering the usual cries to make it stop or turn
back to the fold. The fugitive goat, scared and frightened, ran towards
the company as if seeking their protection and then stood still, and the
goatherd coming up seized it by the horns and began to talk to it as if
it were possessed of reason and understanding: "Ah wanderer, wanderer,
Spotty, Spotty; how have you gone limping all this time? What wolves have
frightened you, my daughter? Won't you tell me what is the matter, my
beauty? But what else can it be except that you are a she, and cannot
keep quiet? A plague on your humours and the humours of those you take
after! Come back, come back, my darling; and if you will not be so happy,
at any rate you will be safe in the fold or with your companions; for if
you who ought to keep and lead them, go wandering astray, what will
become of them?"

The goatherd's talk amused all who heard it, but especially the canon,
who said to him, "As you live, brother, take it easy, and be not in such
a hurry to drive this goat back to the fold; for, being a female, as you
say, she will follow her natural instinct in spite of all you can do to
prevent it. Take this morsel and drink a sup, and that will soothe your
irritation, and in the meantime the goat will rest herself," and so
saying, he handed him the loins of a cold rabbit on a fork.

The goatherd took it with thanks, and drank and calmed himself, and then
said, "I should be sorry if your worships were to take me for a simpleton
for having spoken so seriously as I did to this animal; but the truth is
there is a certain mystery in the words I used. I am a clown, but not so
much of one but that I know how to behave to men and to beasts."

"That I can well believe," said the curate, "for I know already by
experience that the woods breed men of learning, and shepherds' harbour

"At all events, senor," returned the goatherd, "they shelter men of
experience; and that you may see the truth of this and grasp it, though I
may seem to put myself forward without being asked, I will, if it will
not tire you, gentlemen, and you will give me your attention for a
little, tell you a true story which will confirm this gentleman's word
(and he pointed to the curate) as well as my own."

To this Don Quixote replied, "Seeing that this affair has a certain
colour of chivalry about it, I for my part, brother, will hear you most
gladly, and so will all these gentlemen, from the high intelligence they
possess and their love of curious novelties that interest, charm, and
entertain the mind, as I feel quite sure your story will do. So begin,
friend, for we are all prepared to listen."

"I draw my stakes," said Sancho, "and will retreat with this pasty to the
brook there, where I mean to victual myself for three days; for I have
heard my lord, Don Quixote, say that a knight-errant's squire should eat
until he can hold no more, whenever he has the chance, because it often
happens them to get by accident into a wood so thick that they cannot
find a way out of it for six days; and if the man is not well filled or
his alforjas well stored, there he may stay, as very often he does,
turned into a dried mummy."

"Thou art in the right of it, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "go where thou
wilt and eat all thou canst, for I have had enough, and only want to give
my mind its refreshment, as I shall by listening to this good fellow's

"It is what we shall all do," said the canon; and then begged the
goatherd to begin the promised tale.

The goatherd gave the goat which he held by the horns a couple of slaps
on the back, saying, "Lie down here beside me, Spotty, for we have time
enough to return to our fold." The goat seemed to understand him, for as
her master seated himself, she stretched herself quietly beside him and
looked up in his face to show him she was all attention to what he was
going to say, and then in these words he began his story.


                            DON QUIXOTE

                     by Miguel de Cervantes

                    Translated by John Ormsby

                            Volume I.

                             Part 18.



Three leagues from this valley there is a village which, though small, is
one of the richest in all this neighbourhood, and in it there lived a
farmer, a very worthy man, and so much respected that, although to be so
is the natural consequence of being rich, he was even more respected for
his virtue than for the wealth he had acquired. But what made him still
more fortunate, as he said himself, was having a daughter of such
exceeding beauty, rare intelligence, gracefulness, and virtue, that
everyone who knew her and beheld her marvelled at the extraordinary gifts
with which heaven and nature had endowed her. As a child she was
beautiful, she continued to grow in beauty, and at the age of sixteen she
was most lovely. The fame of her beauty began to spread abroad through
all the villages around--but why do I say the villages around, merely,
when it spread to distant cities, and even made its way into the halls of
royalty and reached the ears of people of every class, who came from all
sides to see her as if to see something rare and curious, or some
wonder-working image?

Her father watched over her and she watched over herself; for there are
no locks, or guards, or bolts that can protect a young girl better than
her own modesty. The wealth of the father and the beauty of the daughter
led many neighbours as well as strangers to seek her for a wife; but he,
as one might well be who had the disposal of so rich a jewel, was
perplexed and unable to make up his mind to which of her countless
suitors he should entrust her. I was one among the many who felt a desire
so natural, and, as her father knew who I was, and I was of the same
town, of pure blood, in the bloom of life, and very rich in possessions,
I had great hopes of success. There was another of the same place and
qualifications who also sought her, and this made her father's choice
hang in the balance, for he felt that on either of us his daughter would
be well bestowed; so to escape from this state of perplexity he resolved
to refer the matter to Leandra (for that is the name of the rich damsel
who has reduced me to misery), reflecting that as we were both equal it
would be best to leave it to his dear daughter to choose according to her
inclination--a course that is worthy of imitation by all fathers who wish
to settle their children in life. I do not mean that they ought to leave
them to make a choice of what is contemptible and bad, but that they
should place before them what is good and then allow them to make a good
choice as they please. I do not know which Leandra chose; I only know her
father put us both off with the tender age of his daughter and vague
words that neither bound him nor dismissed us. My rival is called Anselmo
and I myself Eugenio--that you may know the names of the personages that
figure in this tragedy, the end of which is still in suspense, though it
is plain to see it must be disastrous.

About this time there arrived in our town one Vicente de la Roca, the son
of a poor peasant of the same town, the said Vicente having returned from
service as a soldier in Italy and divers other parts. A captain who
chanced to pass that way with his company had carried him off from our
village when he was a boy of about twelve years, and now twelve years
later the young man came back in a soldier's uniform, arrayed in a
thousand colours, and all over glass trinkets and fine steel chains.
To-day he would appear in one gay dress, to-morrow in another; but all
flimsy and gaudy, of little substance and less worth. The peasant folk,
who are naturally malicious, and when they have nothing to do can be
malice itself, remarked all this, and took note of his finery and
jewellery, piece by piece, and discovered that he had three suits of
different colours, with garters and stockings to match; but he made so
many arrangements and combinations out of them, that if they had not
counted them, anyone would have sworn that he had made a display of more
than ten suits of clothes and twenty plumes. Do not look upon all this
that I am telling you about the clothes as uncalled for or spun out, for
they have a great deal to do with the story. He used to seat himself on a
bench under the great poplar in our plaza, and there he would keep us all
hanging open-mouthed on the stories he told us of his exploits. There was
no country on the face of the globe he had not seen, nor battle he had
not been engaged in; he had killed more Moors than there are in Morocco
and Tunis, and fought more single combats, according to his own account,
than Garcilaso, Diego Garcia de Paredes and a thousand others he named,
and out of all he had come victorious without losing a drop of blood. On
the other hand he showed marks of wounds, which, though they could not be
made out, he said were gunshot wounds received in divers encounters and
actions. Lastly, with monstrous impudence he used to say "you" to his
equals and even those who knew what he was, and declare that his arm was
his father and his deeds his pedigree, and that being a soldier he was as
good as the king himself. And to add to these swaggering ways he was a
trifle of a musician, and played the guitar with such a flourish that
some said he made it speak; nor did his accomplishments end here, for he
was something of a poet too, and on every trifle that happened in the
town he made a ballad a league long.

This soldier, then, that I have described, this Vicente de la Roca, this
bravo, gallant, musician, poet, was often seen and watched by Leandra
from a window of her house which looked out on the plaza. The glitter of
his showy attire took her fancy, his ballads bewitched her (for he gave
away twenty copies of every one he made), the tales of his exploits which
he told about himself came to her ears; and in short, as the devil no
doubt had arranged it, she fell in love with him before the presumption
of making love to her had suggested itself to him; and as in love-affairs
none are more easily brought to an issue than those which have the
inclination of the lady for an ally, Leandra and Vicente came to an
understanding without any difficulty; and before any of her numerous
suitors had any suspicion of her design, she had already carried it into
effect, having left the house of her dearly beloved father (for mother
she had none), and disappeared from the village with the soldier, who
came more triumphantly out of this enterprise than out of any of the
large number he laid claim to. All the village and all who heard of it
were amazed at the affair; I was aghast, Anselmo thunderstruck, her
father full of grief, her relations indignant, the authorities all in a
ferment, the officers of the Brotherhood in arms. They scoured the roads,
they searched the woods and all quarters, and at the end of three days
they found the flighty Leandra in a mountain cave, stript to her shift,
and robbed of all the money and precious jewels she had carried away from
home with her.

They brought her back to her unhappy father, and questioned her as to her
misfortune, and she confessed without pressure that Vicente de la Roca
had deceived her, and under promise of marrying her had induced her to
leave her father's house, as he meant to take her to the richest and most
delightful city in the whole world, which was Naples; and that she,
ill-advised and deluded, had believed him, and robbed her father, and
handed over all to him the night she disappeared; and that he had carried
her away to a rugged mountain and shut her up in the eave where they had
found her. She said, moreover, that the soldier, without robbing her of
her honour, had taken from her everything she had, and made off, leaving
her in the cave, a thing that still further surprised everybody. It was
not easy for us to credit the young man's continence, but she asserted it
with such earnestness that it helped to console her distressed father,
who thought nothing of what had been taken since the jewel that once lost
can never be recovered had been left to his daughter. The same day that
Leandra made her appearance her father removed her from our sight and
took her away to shut her up in a convent in a town near this, in the
hope that time may wear away some of the disgrace she has incurred.
Leandra's youth furnished an excuse for her fault, at least with those to
whom it was of no consequence whether she was good or bad; but those who
knew her shrewdness and intelligence did not attribute her misdemeanour
to ignorance but to wantonness and the natural disposition of women,
which is for the most part flighty and ill-regulated.

Leandra withdrawn from sight, Anselmo's eyes grew blind, or at any rate
found nothing to look at that gave them any pleasure, and mine were in
darkness without a ray of light to direct them to anything enjoyable
while Leandra was away. Our melancholy grew greater, our patience grew
less; we cursed the soldier's finery and railed at the carelessness of
Leandra's father. At last Anselmo and I agreed to leave the village and
come to this valley; and, he feeding a great flock of sheep of his own,
and I a large herd of goats of mine, we pass our life among the trees,
giving vent to our sorrows, together singing the fair Leandra's praises,
or upbraiding her, or else sighing alone, and to heaven pouring forth our
complaints in solitude. Following our example, many more of Leandra's
lovers have come to these rude mountains and adopted our mode of life,
and they are so numerous that one would fancy the place had been turned
into the pastoral Arcadia, so full is it of shepherds and sheep-folds;
nor is there a spot in it where the name of the fair Leandra is not
heard. Here one curses her and calls her capricious, fickle, and
immodest, there another condemns her as frail and frivolous; this pardons
and absolves her, that spurns and reviles her; one extols her beauty,
another assails her character, and in short all abuse her, and all adore
her, and to such a pitch has this general infatuation gone that there are
some who complain of her scorn without ever having exchanged a word with
her, and even some that bewail and mourn the raging fever of jealousy,
for which she never gave anyone cause, for, as I have already said, her
misconduct was known before her passion. There is no nook among the
rocks, no brookside, no shade beneath the trees that is not haunted by
some shepherd telling his woes to the breezes; wherever there is an echo
it repeats the name of Leandra; the mountains ring with "Leandra,"
"Leandra" murmur the brooks, and Leandra keeps us all bewildered and
bewitched, hoping without hope and fearing without knowing what we fear.
Of all this silly set the one that shows the least and also the most
sense is my rival Anselmo, for having so many other things to complain
of, he only complains of separation, and to the accompaniment of a
rebeck, which he plays admirably, he sings his complaints in verses that
show his ingenuity. I follow another, easier, and to my mind wiser
course, and that is to rail at the frivolity of women, at their
inconstancy, their double dealing, their broken promises, their unkept
pledges, and in short the want of reflection they show in fixing their
affections and inclinations. This, sirs, was the reason of words and
expressions I made use of to this goat when I came up just now; for as
she is a female I have a contempt for her, though she is the best in all
my fold. This is the story I promised to tell you, and if I have been
tedious in telling it, I will not be slow to serve you; my hut is close
by, and I have fresh milk and dainty cheese there, as well as a variety
of toothsome fruit, no less pleasing to the eye than to the palate.



The goatherd's tale gave great satisfaction to all the hearers, and the
canon especially enjoyed it, for he had remarked with particular
attention the manner in which it had been told, which was as unlike the
manner of a clownish goatherd as it was like that of a polished city wit;
and he observed that the curate had been quite right in saying that the
woods bred men of learning. They all offered their services to Eugenio
but he who showed himself most liberal in this way was Don Quixote, who
said to him, "Most assuredly, brother goatherd, if I found myself in a
position to attempt any adventure, I would, this very instant, set out on
your behalf, and would rescue Leandra from that convent (where no doubt
she is kept against her will), in spite of the abbess and all who might
try to prevent me, and would place her in your hands to deal with her
according to your will and pleasure, observing, however, the laws of
chivalry which lay down that no violence of any kind is to be offered to
any damsel. But I trust in God our Lord that the might of one malignant
enchanter may not prove so great but that the power of another better
disposed may prove superior to it, and then I promise you my support and
assistance, as I am bound to do by my profession, which is none other
than to give aid to the weak and needy."

The goatherd eyed him, and noticing Don Quixote's sorry appearance and
looks, he was filled with wonder, and asked the barber, who was next him,
"Senor, who is this man who makes such a figure and talks in such a

"Who should it be," said the barber, "but the famous Don Quixote of La
Mancha, the undoer of injustice, the righter of wrongs, the protector of
damsels, the terror of giants, and the winner of battles?"

"That," said the goatherd, "sounds like what one reads in the books of
the knights-errant, who did all that you say this man does; though it is
my belief that either you are joking, or else this gentleman has empty
lodgings in his head."

"You are a great scoundrel," said Don Quixote, "and it is you who are
empty and a fool. I am fuller than ever was the whoreson bitch that bore
you;" and passing from words to deeds, he caught up a loaf that was near
him and sent it full in the goatherd's face, with such force that he
flattened his nose; but the goatherd, who did not understand jokes, and
found himself roughly handled in such good earnest, paying no respect to
carpet, tablecloth, or diners, sprang upon Don Quixote, and seizing him
by the throat with both hands would no doubt have throttled him, had not
Sancho Panza that instant come to the rescue, and grasping him by the
shoulders flung him down on the table, smashing plates, breaking glasses,
and upsetting and scattering everything on it. Don Quixote, finding
himself free, strove to get on top of the goatherd, who, with his face
covered with blood, and soundly kicked by Sancho, was on all fours
feeling about for one of the table-knives to take a bloody revenge with.
The canon and the curate, however, prevented him, but the barber so
contrived it that he got Don Quixote under him, and rained down upon him
such a shower of fisticuffs that the poor knight's face streamed with
blood as freely as his own. The canon and the curate were bursting with
laughter, the officers were capering with delight, and both the one and
the other hissed them on as they do dogs that are worrying one another in
a fight. Sancho alone was frantic, for he could not free himself from the
grasp of one of the canon's servants, who kept him from going to his
master's assistance.

At last, while they were all, with the exception of the two bruisers who
were mauling each other, in high glee and enjoyment, they heard a trumpet
sound a note so doleful that it made them all look in the direction
whence the sound seemed to come. But the one that was most excited by
hearing it was Don Quixote, who though sorely against his will he was
under the goatherd, and something more than pretty well pummelled, said
to him, "Brother devil (for it is impossible but that thou must be one
since thou hast had might and strength enough to overcome mine), I ask
thee to agree to a truce for but one hour for the solemn note of yonder
trumpet that falls on our ears seems to me to summon me to some new
adventure." The goatherd, who was by this time tired of pummelling and
being pummelled, released him at once, and Don Quixote rising to his feet
and turning his eyes to the quarter where the sound had been heard,
suddenly saw coming down the slope of a hill several men clad in white
like penitents.

The fact was that the clouds had that year withheld their moisture from
the earth, and in all the villages of the district they were organising
processions, rogations, and penances, imploring God to open the hands of
his mercy and send the rain; and to this end the people of a village that
was hard by were going in procession to a holy hermitage there was on one
side of that valley. Don Quixote when he saw the strange garb of the
penitents, without reflecting how often he had seen it before, took it
into his head that this was a case of adventure, and that it fell to him
alone as a knight-errant to engage in it; and he was all the more
confirmed in this notion, by the idea that an image draped in black they
had with them was some illustrious lady that these villains and
discourteous thieves were carrying off by force. As soon as this occurred
to him he ran with all speed to Rocinante who was grazing at large, and
taking the bridle and the buckler from the saddle-bow, he had him bridled
in an instant, and calling to Sancho for his sword he mounted Rocinante,
braced his buckler on his arm, and in a loud voice exclaimed to those who
stood by, "Now, noble company, ye shall see how important it is that
there should be knights in the world professing the of knight-errantry;
now, I say, ye shall see, by the deliverance of that worthy lady who is
borne captive there, whether knights-errant deserve to be held in
estimation," and so saying he brought his legs to bear on Rocinante--for
he had no spurs--and at a full canter (for in all this veracious history
we never read of Rocinante fairly galloping) set off to encounter the
penitents, though the curate, the canon, and the barber ran to prevent
him. But it was out of their power, nor did he even stop for the shouts
of Sancho calling after him, "Where are you going, Senor Don Quixote?
What devils have possessed you to set you on against our Catholic faith?
Plague take me! mind, that is a procession of penitents, and the lady
they are carrying on that stand there is the blessed image of the
immaculate Virgin. Take care what you are doing, senor, for this time it
may be safely said you don't know what you are about." Sancho laboured in
vain, for his master was so bent on coming to quarters with these sheeted
figures and releasing the lady in black that he did not hear a word; and
even had he heard, he would not have turned back if the king had ordered
him. He came up with the procession and reined in Rocinante, who was
already anxious enough to slacken speed a little, and in a hoarse,
excited voice he exclaimed, "You who hide your faces, perhaps because you
are not good subjects, pay attention and listen to what I am about to say
to you." The first to halt were those who were carrying the image, and
one of the four ecclesiastics who were chanting the Litany, struck by the
strange figure of Don Quixote, the leanness of Rocinante, and the other
ludicrous peculiarities he observed, said in reply to him, "Brother, if
you have anything to say to us say it quickly, for these brethren are
whipping themselves, and we cannot stop, nor is it reasonable we should
stop to hear anything, unless indeed it is short enough to be said in two

"I will say it in one," replied Don Quixote, "and it is this; that at
once, this very instant, ye release that fair lady whose tears and sad
aspect show plainly that ye are carrying her off against her will, and
that ye have committed some scandalous outrage against her; and I, who
was born into the world to redress all such like wrongs, will not permit
you to advance another step until you have restored to her the liberty
she pines for and deserves."

From these words all the hearers concluded that he must be a madman, and
began to laugh heartily, and their laughter acted like gunpowder on Don
Quixote's fury, for drawing his sword without another word he made a rush
at the stand. One of those who supported it, leaving the burden to his
comrades, advanced to meet him, flourishing a forked stick that he had
for propping up the stand when resting, and with this he caught a mighty
cut Don Quixote made at him that severed it in two; but with the portion
that remained in his hand he dealt such a thwack on the shoulder of Don
Quixote's sword arm (which the buckler could not protect against the
clownish assault) that poor Don Quixote came to the ground in a sad

Sancho Panza, who was coming on close behind puffing and blowing, seeing
him fall, cried out to his assailant not to strike him again, for he was
poor enchanted knight, who had never harmed anyone all the days of his
life; but what checked the clown was, not Sancho's shouting, but seeing
that Don Quixote did not stir hand or foot; and so, fancying he had
killed him, he hastily hitched up his tunic under his girdle and took to
his heels across the country like a deer.

By this time all Don Quixote's companions had come up to where he lay;
but the processionists seeing them come running, and with them the
officers of the Brotherhood with their crossbows, apprehended mischief,
and clustering round the image, raised their hoods, and grasped their
scourges, as the priests did their tapers, and awaited the attack,
resolved to defend themselves and even to take the offensive against
their assailants if they could. Fortune, however, arranged the matter
better than they expected, for all Sancho did was to fling himself on his
master's body, raising over him the most doleful and laughable
lamentation that ever was heard, for he believed he was dead. The curate
was known to another curate who walked in the procession, and their
recognition of one another set at rest the apprehensions of both parties;
the first then told the other in two words who Don Quixote was, and he
and the whole troop of penitents went to see if the poor gentleman was
dead, and heard Sancho Panza saying, with tears in his eyes, "Oh flower
of chivalry, that with one blow of a stick hast ended the course of thy
well-spent life! Oh pride of thy race, honour and glory of all La Mancha,
nay, of all the world, that for want of thee will be full of evil-doers,
no longer in fear of punishment for their misdeeds! Oh thou, generous
above all the Alexanders, since for only eight months of service thou
hast given me the best island the sea girds or surrounds! Humble with the
proud, haughty with the humble, encounterer of dangers, endurer of
outrages, enamoured without reason, imitator of the good, scourge of the
wicked, enemy of the mean, in short, knight-errant, which is all that can
be said!"

At the cries and moans of Sancho, Don Quixote came to himself, and the
first word he said was, "He who lives separated from you, sweetest
Dulcinea, has greater miseries to endure than these. Aid me, friend
Sancho, to mount the enchanted cart, for I am not in a condition to press
the saddle of Rocinante, as this shoulder is all knocked to pieces."

"That I will do with all my heart, senor," said Sancho; "and let us
return to our village with these gentlemen, who seek your good, and there
we will prepare for making another sally, which may turn out more
profitable and creditable to us."

"Thou art right, Sancho," returned Don Quixote; "It will be wise to let
the malign influence of the stars which now prevails pass off."

The canon, the curate, and the barber told him he would act very wisely
in doing as he said; and so, highly amused at Sancho Panza's
simplicities, they placed Don Quixote in the cart as before. The
procession once more formed itself in order and proceeded on its road;
the goatherd took his leave of the party; the officers of the Brotherhood
declined to go any farther, and the curate paid them what was due to
them; the canon begged the curate to let him know how Don Quixote did,
whether he was cured of his madness or still suffered from it, and then
begged leave to continue his journey; in short, they all separated and
went their ways, leaving to themselves the curate and the barber, Don
Quixote, Sancho Panza, and the good Rocinante, who regarded everything
with as great resignation as his master. The carter yoked his oxen and
made Don Quixote comfortable on a truss of hay, and at his usual
deliberate pace took the road the curate directed, and at the end of six
days they reached Don Quixote's village, and entered it about the middle
of the day, which it so happened was a Sunday, and the people were all in
the plaza, through which Don Quixote's cart passed. They all flocked to
see what was in the cart, and when they recognised their townsman they
were filled with amazement, and a boy ran off to bring the news to his
housekeeper and his niece that their master and uncle had come back all
lean and yellow and stretched on a truss of hay on an ox-cart. It was
piteous to hear the cries the two good ladies raised, how they beat their
breasts and poured out fresh maledictions on those accursed books of
chivalry; all which was renewed when they saw Don Quixote coming in at
the gate.

At the news of Don Quixote's arrival Sancho Panza's wife came running,
for she by this time knew that her husband had gone away with him as his
squire, and on seeing Sancho, the first thing she asked him was if the
ass was well. Sancho replied that he was, better than his master was.

"Thanks be to God," said she, "for being so good to me; but now tell me,
my friend, what have you made by your squirings? What gown have you
brought me back? What shoes for your children?"

"I bring nothing of that sort, wife," said Sancho; "though I bring other
things of more consequence and value."

"I am very glad of that," returned his wife; "show me these things of
more value and consequence, my friend; for I want to see them to cheer my
heart that has been so sad and heavy all these ages that you have been

"I will show them to you at home, wife," said Sancho; "be content for the
present; for if it please God that we should again go on our travels in
search of adventures, you will soon see me a count, or governor of an
island, and that not one of those everyday ones, but the best that is to
be had."

"Heaven grant it, husband," said she, "for indeed we have need of it. But
tell me, what's this about islands, for I don't understand it?"

"Honey is not for the mouth of the ass," returned Sancho; "all in good
time thou shalt see, wife--nay, thou wilt be surprised to hear thyself
called 'your ladyship' by all thy vassals."

"What are you talking about, Sancho, with your ladyships, islands, and
vassals?" returned Teresa Panza--for so Sancho's wife was called, though
they were not relations, for in La Mancha it is customary for wives to
take their husbands' surnames.

"Don't be in such a hurry to know all this, Teresa," said Sancho; "it is
enough that I am telling you the truth, so shut your mouth. But I may
tell you this much by the way, that there is nothing in the world more
delightful than to be a person of consideration, squire to a
knight-errant, and a seeker of adventures. To be sure most of those one
finds do not end as pleasantly as one could wish, for out of a hundred,
ninety-nine will turn out cross and contrary. I know it by experience,
for out of some I came blanketed, and out of others belaboured. Still,
for all that, it is a fine thing to be on the look-out for what may
happen, crossing mountains, searching woods, climbing rocks, visiting
castles, putting up at inns, all at free quarters, and devil take the
maravedi to pay."

While this conversation passed between Sancho Panza and his wife, Don
Quixote's housekeeper and niece took him in and undressed him and laid
him in his old bed. He eyed them askance, and could not make out where he
was. The curate charged his niece to be very careful to make her uncle
comfortable and to keep a watch over him lest he should make his escape
from them again, telling her what they had been obliged to do to bring
him home. On this the pair once more lifted up their voices and renewed
their maledictions upon the books of chivalry, and implored heaven to
plunge the authors of such lies and nonsense into the midst of the
bottomless pit. They were, in short, kept in anxiety and dread lest their
uncle and master should give them the slip the moment he found himself
somewhat better, and as they feared so it fell out.

But the author of this history, though he has devoted research and
industry to the discovery of the deeds achieved by Don Quixote in his
third sally, has been unable to obtain any information respecting them,
at any rate derived from authentic documents; tradition has merely
preserved in the memory of La Mancha the fact that Don Quixote, the third
time he sallied forth from his home, betook himself to Saragossa, where
he was present at some famous jousts which came off in that city, and
that he had adventures there worthy of his valour and high intelligence.
Of his end and death he could learn no particulars, nor would he have
ascertained it or known of it, if good fortune had not produced an old
physician for him who had in his possession a leaden box, which,
according to his account, had been discovered among the crumbling
foundations of an ancient hermitage that was being rebuilt; in which box
were found certain parchment manuscripts in Gothic character, but in
Castilian verse, containing many of his achievements, and setting forth
the beauty of Dulcinea, the form of Rocinante, the fidelity of Sancho
Panza, and the burial of Don Quixote himself, together with sundry
epitaphs and eulogies on his life and character; but all that could be
read and deciphered were those which the trustworthy author of this new
and unparalleled history here presents. And the said author asks of those
that shall read it nothing in return for the vast toil which it has cost
him in examining and searching the Manchegan archives in order to bring
it to light, save that they give him the same credit that people of sense
give to the books of chivalry that pervade the world and are so popular;
for with this he will consider himself amply paid and fully satisfied,
and will be encouraged to seek out and produce other histories, if not as
truthful, at least equal in invention and not less entertaining. The
first words written on the parchment found in the leaden box were these:

           LA MANCHA,


The scatterbrain that gave La Mancha more
  Rich spoils than Jason's; who a point so keen
  Had to his wit, and happier far had been
If his wit's weathercock a blunter bore;
The arm renowned far as Gaeta's shore,
  Cathay, and all the lands that lie between;
  The muse discreet and terrible in mien
As ever wrote on brass in days of yore;
He who surpassed the Amadises all,
  And who as naught the Galaors accounted,
    Supported by his love and gallantry:
Who made the Belianises sing small,
  And sought renown on Rocinante mounted;
    Here, underneath this cold stone, doth he lie.



She, whose full features may be here descried,
  High-bosomed, with a bearing of disdain,
  Is Dulcinea, she for whom in vain
The great Don Quixote of La Mancha sighed.
For her, Toboso's queen, from side to side
  He traversed the grim sierra, the champaign
  Of Aranjuez, and Montiel's famous plain:
On Rocinante oft a weary ride.
Malignant planets, cruel destiny,
  Pursued them both, the fair Manchegan dame,
And the unconquered star of chivalry.
  Nor youth nor beauty saved her from the claim
Of death; he paid love's bitter penalty,
  And left the marble to preserve his name.



On that proud throne of diamantine sheen,
  Which the blood-reeking feet of Mars degrade,
The mad Manchegan's banner now hath been
  By him in all its bravery displayed.
  There hath he hung his arms and trenchant blade
Wherewith, achieving deeds till now unseen,
  He slays, lays low, cleaves, hews; but art hath made
A novel style for our new paladin.
If Amadis be the proud boast of Gaul,
  If by his progeny the fame of Greece
    Through all the regions of the earth be spread,
Great Quixote crowned in grim Bellona's hall
  To-day exalts La Mancha over these,
    And above Greece or Gaul she holds her head.
Nor ends his glory here, for his good steed
Doth Brillador and Bayard far exceed;
As mettled steeds compared with Rocinante,
The reputation they have won is scanty.



  The worthy Sancho Panza here you see;
    A great soul once was in that body small,
    Nor was there squire upon this earthly ball
So plain and simple, or of guile so free.
Within an ace of being Count was he,
    And would have been but for the spite and gall
    Of this vile age, mean and illiberal,
That cannot even let a donkey be.
For mounted on an ass (excuse the word),
    By Rocinante's side this gentle squire
      Was wont his wandering master to attend.
Delusive hopes that lure the common herd
    With promises of ease, the heart's desire,
      In shadows, dreams, and smoke ye always end.


The knight lies here below,
  Ill-errant and bruised sore,
  Whom Rocinante bore
In his wanderings to and fro.
By the side of the knight is laid
  Stolid man Sancho too,
  Than whom a squire more true
Was not in the esquire trade.


Here Dulcinea lies.
  Plump was she and robust:
  Now she is ashes and dust:
The end of all flesh that dies.
A lady of high degree,
  With the port of a lofty dame,
  And the great Don Quixote's flame,
And the pride of her village was she.

These were all the verses that could be deciphered; the rest, the writing
being worm-eaten, were handed over to one of the Academicians to make out
their meaning conjecturally. We have been informed that at the cost of
many sleepless nights and much toil he has succeeded, and that he means
to publish them in hopes of Don Quixote's third sally.

"Forse altro cantera con miglior plectro."

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The History of Don Quixote, Vol. I.,
Part 14., by Miguel de Cervantes


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